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December 31, 2015

DFS Roundtable: Favorite DraftKings Play for Week 17

Every week this season, our contributors will give their favorite plays for the week in DraftKings contests.

Q: Who is your favorite DraftKings play for Week 17?

Sean Beazley - Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles ( NYG), $3,600

This is the final full NFL slate of the year, and boy does it have some dream matchups to target. Spending up on elite WRs in cash games has been my recipe to success this year, and this week all five of the top-priced wideouts have great matchups. I have tinkered with a number of different rosters to try to get 2-3 to fit in my cash lineup. Luckily, DraftKings pricing has been extremely soft this year.

One player who will be the centerpiece of all my cash games this week is Eagles TE Zach Ertz. Ertz has a cake matchup vs. the Giants, who are near the bottom of the league vs. the pass. Ertz has finished the season strong posting 26/298/1 on 37 targets in his last three games. At a bargain price of $3600, Ertz really only needs 11 DK points to pay off his salary. Ertz paired with a sub 6K QB, and a bargain-bin priced defense (like Dallas) can really open up your options this week.

Brendan Donahue - Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles ( NYG), $3,600

The Eagles have finally started to make Ertz one of the focal points of their offense, but unfortunately for them it was too little too late. Ertz certainly isn't going to help DeMarco Murray gain any more yards by blocking, but he can catch the ball as evidenced by his 21 catches in the past two games. Sam Bradford has been targeting him early and often with 30 targets in the past two games and he has a great matchup this week against the Giants, who give up the most points to opposing TEs on the season. Draftkings has him at only $3,600 this week and he should easily outperform his salary.

Kevin Hanson - Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants (vs. PHI), $9,000

Certainly, I'm not going out on much of a limb to suggest Beckham, but my most common stack this week will be Eli Manning and OBJ. And with some other values on the board, I feel comfortable with cash-game and tournament lineups that feature Eli/OBJ plus Julio Jones ($8,500).

Before his one-game suspension, Beckham extended his touchdown streak to five games even though his 100-yard game streak ended at six games. Over his past seven games, Beckham has a minimum of 19.6 fantasy points in every game and an average of 29.74 per contest. Averaging nearly 100 yards (99.71/G) and a score (0.93/G) this season, OBJ should be targeted early and often by Manning in a premier matchup. Only the Steelers have allowed more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers (PPR/DK scoring) this season.

Dan Yanotchko - Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets (at BUF), $6,500

This week I am big on Eric Decker of the Jets at $6,500, as he has a great matchup in a must-win game. Decker splits in the last four games: 38 targets, 24 receptions, 69 YPG, and 3 TDs. Decker caught six balls for 85 yards and a TD in the last game against a Bills secondary that allows 253 yards passing and 28 TDs.

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2015 Fantasy Football: Week 17 Fantasy Quarterback Rankings

Despite their 14-0 start to the 2015 NFL season, the Carolina Panthers still have something for which play in Week 17. Only one game ahead of the Arizona Cardinals, who will host the Seattle Seahawks, the Panthers need a win (or a Cardinals loss) to secure home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

With a first-round bye in either case, that scenario should lead to Cam Newton playing a full game -- or close to it.

For players in leagues that conclude in Week 16, Newton finished the year as fantasy's top-scoring quarterback with 356.36 fantasy points -- nearly 20 more than New England's Tom Brady (338.44).

Newton has thrown for 3,544 yards with a career-high 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and has rushed for 626 yards and eight touchdowns, tied for the second-most of his career.

Owners that needed a strong performance from Newton in Championship Week were disappointed with his 142 passing yards and no touchdowns against the Falcons although he rushed for 46 yards and a score. Finishing with 14.28 fantasy points, Newton was outscored by 17 other quarterbacks last week.

Before last week's game, however, Newton had finished as the top-scoring weekly fantasy quarterback in four of seven weeks. In two of those three weeks where he wasn't the top scorer, he finished as a top-six fantasy quarterback.

The Buccaneers are middle of the road in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks and Newton threw for a season-low 124 yards against them in Week 4. As well as he's been playing (last week excluded), however, Newton is still my top-ranked fantasy quarterback for Week 17.

Big Ben: Worst Game at Worst Time

In an exploitable matchup, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger laid an egg in Week 16 against the Baltimore Ravens.

Excluding Week 3 when he left the game early due to injury, Big Ben's 215 passing yards were a season low. Not only did he throw no touchdowns, but he threw a pair of interceptions and scored just 3.8 fantasy points on the week.

Including last week's dud, however, Roethlisberger has averaged 344.29 passing yards per game with 13 passing scores over his past seven games.

If your league plays in Week 17 and his poor performance last week didn't knock you out of the playoffs, he has a chance for redemption this week with a favorable matchup against the Browns.

The Browns have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. And in his first matchup against Cleveland, Roethlisberger threw for 379 yards, three touchdowns and one interception to score nearly 27 fantasy points.

Here are some more fantasy football notes on quarterbacks:

  • The biggest (positive) surprise among fantasy quarterbacks this season, Jacksonville's Blake Bortles has scored the fourth-most fantasy points this season. Scoring a minimum of 22 fantasy points in five consecutive games, he has averaged 313.2 passing yards per game with 17 touchdowns -- 15 passing and two rushing -- over that stretch. Bortles has finished as a top-10 weekly fantasy quarterback in 10 of 15 games this season.

  • For the second week in a row, Washington's Kirk Cousins threw for 300-plus yards and four touchdowns. You like that?! Over his past nine games, he has finished as the top-scoring weekly quarterback three times and he has three other top-10 finishes during that span as well. On paper, the matchup isn't great as the Cowboys have allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and it's possible that Cousins gets pulled early given the fact that Washington has their playoff seeding wrapped up with no bye.

  • Throwing a game-winning touchdown in OT last week, Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns against the Patriots. Over his past five games, The Amish Rifle has averaged 305 passing yards per game with a 13:1 TD-to-INT ratio. Playing in a win-and-you're-in scenario, Fitzpatrick is a top-10 quarterback for me in Week 17.

  • It's been a season to forget for Atlanta's Matt Ryan, but he had a solid performance against the Panthers last week -- 306 yards and a touchdown. It was only the second 300-yard game against the Panthers since Week 4. With a matchup against the Saints, who have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, Ryan has a golden opportunity to close the season with back-to-back strong performances.

  • After throwing multiple touchdowns in only one of his first nine games, Wilson has thrown multiple touchdowns in six consecutive weeks. Wilson has compiled an impressive 21:1 TD-to-INT ratio during that stretch. His last single-TD game was against this week's opponent and the Cardinals have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs this season. That said, Wilson still finished as the QB11 that week and he's projected for a back-end QB1 performance in my Week 17 rankings.

  • With a strong start to the season, San Diego's Philip Rivers is currently the QB11 on the year, but he has disappointed fantasy owners over the past half of a season. Since Week 9, Rivers has finished as the weekly QB15 (or worse) in five of seven games, which include three single-digit fantasy outings. One of those games was his first matchup against the Broncos, who have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. There is little reason for optimism in this week's re-match as the Broncos play for a first-round bye.

Below you find my Week 17 Fantasy Football QB Rankings:

1. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (vs. TB)
2. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (at CLE)
3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (at MIA)
4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (at ATL)
5. Eli Manning, New York Giants (vs. PHI)
6. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (vs. SEA)
7. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (at HOU)
8. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (at ARI)
9. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (vs. NO)
10. Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (at BUF)
11. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (vs. MIN)
12. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (at CHI)
13. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (at DAL)
14. Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles (at NYG)
15. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (vs. NYJ)
16. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (at KC)
17. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. OAK)
18. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears (vs. DET)
19. Brian Hoyer, Houston Texans (vs. JAX)
20. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (at DEN)
21. AJ McCarron, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. BAL)
22. Brock Osweiler, Denver Broncos (vs. SD)
23. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings (at GB)
24. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (vs. NE)
25. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at CAR)

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December 30, 2015

2015 NFL Power Rankings: Week 17

Here are our Week 17 NFL Power Rankings:

1. Arizona Cardinals (Record: 13-2; Last: 2)No team is more complete than the Cardinals, who have won nine consecutive games and own the league's best scoring differential (+206). Not only do Carson Palmer and the Cardinals lead the NFL in total offense (420.1 yards per game), but they rank fifth in total defense (319.5 YPG allowed).

2. Carolina Panthers (Record: 14-1; Last: 1)The Panthers first loss of the season may turn out to be a blessing in disguise as they play for a championship without the added pressure (distraction) of trying to play for perfection. Going into the final week of the season, Cam Newton has to be the favorite for league MVP. Despite a lack of skill-position talent around him, Newton has thrown for 3,544 yards and a career-high 33 touchdowns and rushed for 626 yards and eight touchdowns.

3. New England Patriots (Record: 12-3; Last: 3)With a win on Sunday, the AFC playoffs will run through Foxboro. The Patriots continue to lose players to injuries, but as long as they have a healthy Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski with Bill Belichick on the sideline (coin-toss decisions aside), they will be the prohibitive favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

4. Seattle Seahawks (Record: 9-6; Last: 4)Extending his touchdown streak to five games, Doug Baldwin finished with a season-high eight catches and exceeded 100 yards for the third time in seven games. His 14 receiving touchdowns this season have set a franchise record.

5. Cincinnati Bengals (Record: 11-4; Last: 5)With Andy Dalton (thumb) not expected to be ready for the Wild Card round, the Bengals are perhaps fortunate that A.J. McCarron (wrist) is considered "day to day." After losing to Denver on Monday Night Football, the Bengals could still earn a first-round bye with a win (and Denver loss) on Sunday.

6. Kansas City Chiefs (Record: 10-5; Last: 6)After starting the season with a 1-5 record, the Chiefs extended their winning streak to nine games with a win over the Browns. If the Chiefs beat the Raiders (and the Broncos lose), they would win the AFC West.

7. Denver Broncos (Record: 11-4; Last: 8)With Brock Osweiler leading the Broncos to a come-from-behind win over the Bengals on Monday Night Football, he has already been confirmed the Week 17 starter. Clinching a playoff berth, the MNF win puts the Broncos in the driver's seat for a first-round bye with an outside chance at the No. 1 seed.

8. New York Jets (Record: 10-5; Last: 10)Brandon Marshall exceeded 100 yards for the fourth time in five games and he caught a pair of touchdowns in Sunday's OT win over the Patriots. In the process, Marshall set the franchise's single-season record for receptions (101) and set a career high in touchdowns (13).

9. Pittsburgh Steelers (Record: 9-6; Last: 7)The Steelers laid an egg against the Ravens in Week 16. Favored by double digits against a leaky secondary, Ben Roethlisberger threw for 215 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions. Not only do they need a Week 17 win, but they need help from the Chiefs and/or Jets to get into the playoffs.

10. Minnesota Vikings (Record: 10-5; Last: 11)Not only did Adrian Peterson rush for 104 yards and a touchdown, but Jerick McKinnon ran for 89 yards and two late touchdowns as the Vikings scored a season-high 49 points in Week 16. The Vikings head to Lambeau Field in Week 17 for the division. In 15 regular-season games against Green Bay, AP has 1,911 yards from scrimmage, 5.37 YPC and 13 total touchdowns.

Here are the best of the rest:

11. Washington Redskins (Record: 8-7; Last: 12)
12. Green Bay Packers (Record: 10-5; Last: 9)
13. Houston Texans (Record: 8-7; Last: 13)
14. Atlanta Falcons (Record: 8-7; Last: 20)
15. Oakland Raiders (Record: 7-8; Last: 18)
16. Buffalo Bills (Record: 7-8; Last: 14)
17. New York Giants (Record: 6-9; Last: 15)
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Record: 6-9; Last: 16)
19. St. Louis Rams (Record: 7-8; Last: 22)
20. Detroit Lions (Record: 6-9; Last: 19)
21. Indianapolis Colts (Record: 7-8; Last: 17)
22. New Orleans Saints (Record: 6-9; Last: 25)
23. Jacksonville Jaguars (Record: 5-10; Last: 23)
24. Philadelphia Eagles (Record: 6-9; Last: 21)
25. Chicago Bears (Record: 6-9; Last: 24)
26. Miami Dolphins (Record: 5-10; Last: 28)
27. Baltimore Ravens (Record: 5-10; Last: 30)
28. Dallas Cowboys (Record: 4-11; Last: 29)
29. San Francisco 49ers (Record: 4-11; Last: 26)
30. San Diego Chargers (Record: 4-11; Last: 27)
31. Cleveland Browns (Record: 3-12; Last: 31)
32. Tennessee Titans (Record: 3-12; Last: 32)

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December 27, 2015

Week 16 Fantasy Football: Updated WR Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Golden Tate is listed below as a "start" for Week 16. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 16 with him as one of my starting receivers.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned DeAndre Hopkins, Jeremy Maclin and Tate and started only two wide receivers, you should start Hopkins and Maclin -- and in turn, bench Tate.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 16:

WR - Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL)

Without question, Bryant's teammate, Antonio Brown, is the clear-cut top fantasy receiver for Week 16. That said, few receivers (on other teams) have a better outlook than Bryant. After all, Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense have scored 30-plus points in six consecutive games, which is tied for the sixth-longest streak in NFL history.

Held without a touchdown in back-to-back games, Bryant had a total of six touchdowns in his first seven games this season. Not only does the second-year wideout currently have the longest reception of 2014 (94 yards) and 2015 (88 yards), but the volume has been there as well. Bryant has double-digit targets in three of five games and is averaging 9.56 targets per game this year.

Posting a respectable 5.3/84.3/0.7 average stat line this season, Bryant, Brown and the Steelers receivers have the best matchup of the week. No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing receivers this season than the Ravens. Over their past nine games, Baltimore has allowed opposing receivers to haul in 18 touchdowns.

WR - Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks (vs. STL)

It's been a phenomenal four-game stretch for Baldwin, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks passing offense, in general. Nearly half of Baldwin's 21 receptions over that four-game span have gone for touchdowns (10). In fact, Baldwin's four-game, multi-TD streak is tied for the longest in NFL history with Calvin Johnson (2011) and Cris Carter (1995). With his recent production catapulting him into the top-seven fantasy wide receivers through Week 15, Baldwin has 65 catches for a career-high 905 yards and a league-leading 13 touchdowns.

The matchup isn't great on paper as the Rams have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. Even though he is considered a game-time decision, it appears that he will be ready to go later today.

WR - Eric Decker, New York Jets (vs. NE)

Decker may be second on his own team in terms of fantasy points scored among wide receivers, but he's still been a top-10 producer going into Week 16. With 72 catches for 930 yards and 10 touchdowns, Decker has exceeded 80 yards and/or scored a touchdown in every game he's played this season. In his first matchup against the Patriots, Decker finished with six catches for 94 yards on 12 targets.

WR - Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (vs. SF)

Tate has not reached 75 receiving yards in any of his past 12 games, but he has pulled off a mini-Baldwin, if you will. Tate has scored multiple touchdowns in back-to-back games. In fact, Tate has twice as many receiving touchdowns as Megatron has catches over the past two weeks. With Johnson dealing with an ankle injury, Tate is ranked inside my top-24 receivers this week.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 16:

WR - T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (at MIA)

Perhaps he's due if the pattern of his recent performances are any indication: 2.1 fantasy points (weekly WR65), 21.5 (WR9), 3.6 (WR64), 13.2 (WR16) and 2.9 (WR78), respectively. In his past nine games, Hilton has finished as a top-16 receiver four times and outside the top-60 weekly receivers four times.

The matchup is favorable with the Dolphins allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing receivers, but Andrew Luck is out for another week and Hilton has complained about the team's reluctance to take shots down the field. Given the inconsistent production, Hilton is more of a WR3/flex for me this week.

WR - Brandon LaFell, New England Patriots (at NYJ)

Even though the Patriots will be without the services of both Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman and I expect Tom Brady to throw it close to 50 times today, LaFell is still a sit for me. After hauling in four catches for 88 yards last week, LaFell had a total of 95 receiving yards in his previous three games. LaFell has dealt with plenty of drops this season and it wouldn't surprise me if he spend some time on Revis Island. In his last matchup against the Jets, LaFell finished with two catches and 25 yards on eight targets.

WR - Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (at ARI)

Since Week 4, Cobb has scored single-digit fantasy points in all but one of his 11 games. That also means that he has finished outside of the top-24 fantasy receivers in 10 of his past 11 games as well.

Among healthy wide receivers, there hasn't been a bigger disappointment than Cobb (WR29 through Week 15). While the season-ending injury to Tyrann Mathieu is a devastating blow to Arizona's pass defense, the Cardinals have allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season.

WR - Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams (at SEA)

A boom-or-bust fantasy option, Austin has finished as a top-10 weekly fantasy wide receiver four times this season including last week against the Buccaneers and in Week 1 against the Seahawks. With nearly as many rushing yards (390) as receiving yards (427), Austin has scored 10 touchdowns this season -- four rushing, five receiving and one return. And even though he had two scores against the Seahawks in Week 1, he had only 15 YFS (and minus two receiving yards) in that game.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 16

Week 16 Fantasy Football Rankings:

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 16 (Beazley)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 16 of the 2015 NFL season:

Tennessee Titans +3.5 over Houston Texans (2 units)

Brandon Weeden is starting for the Texans today, and we all know how bad Weeden is. I think the Titans will get up to play this one and win this one out right. Zach Mettenberger likes to sling it deep. If you don't know about Dorial Green-Beckham yet, you will after today. Titans, 23-20.

Denver Broncos -3.5 over Cincinnati Bengals (4 units)

I absolutely love the Broncos in this spot at home. I think their defense is going to give A.J. McCarron a lot of trouble. I am rolling out this unit as my cash game defense on daily sites. I believe their defense will put up 20 fantasy points in this one. Denver, 27-13.

Pittsburgh Steelers -10.5 over Baltimore Ravens (3 units)

Pittsburgh is unstoppable on offense right now, and I believe they are the favorite right now to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. The funny thing is they need to make the playoffs first. These games are historically pretty good, but not today. Fire up those Steelers stacks! Steelers, 41-21.

St. Louis Rams +13 over Seattle Seahawks (3 units)

If Seattle's defense was good this year, I'd hammer this one in the other direction considering Russell Wilson looks like an elite QB over the past few games. The defense is just average though and can get beaten. The Rams keep it close enough, and it wouldn't shock me to see them win this one. Seahawks, 26-18.

New England Patriots -3 over New York Jets (4 units)

Tom Brady will be throwing in this one until his arm falls off. The one thing that is great about the Patriots is they don't try to beat the opponent's strength. If a team has a stout run D, they pass, and vice versa. The Patriots will be without Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola today. Brandon LaFell will likely draw a lot of coverage from Darrelle Revis, which should lead to 10-15 targets each for Rob Gronkowski and James White. Both should have great games. Pats hammer the Jets, 38-23.

- Note: We will track all of our 2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread here.

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Week 16 Fantasy Football: Updated RB Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Denard Robinson is listed below as a "start" for Week 16. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 16 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Adrian Peterson, DeAngelo Williams and Robinson and start only two running backs, you should start AP and Williams -- and in turn, bench Shoelace.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 16:

RB - Denard Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (at NO)

Starting for injured rookie running back T.J. Yeldon, Robinson was less effective against the Falcons (2.0 yards per carry) than he was in an expanded role in Week 14, but he racked up a season-high 22 touches. With only 0.34 fantasy points per touch, his third-lowest of the season, Robinson still finished the week as a top-30 fantasy running back.

With Yeldon expected to miss another game, Robinson should get a large workload in one of the best matchups of the week. Only Frank Gore and the Colts have a (slightly) better matchup as the Saints have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

RB - Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. CLE)

Since leaving the San Diego game (Week 11) early with an injury, West saw his largest workload last week with 18 touches against the Ravens. West finished the game with 76 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and added two catches for nine yards. Before Week 11, West had three consecutive games with 24-plus touches.

It's unlikely that West gets 24-plus touches this week, but if he gets the 18 he had last week, he should produce as a top-eight fantasy running back once again. The Browns have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

RB - Karlos Williams, Buffalo Bills (vs. DAL)

With LeSean McCoy (MCL) expected to miss this week's game, it will be a combination of Williams and Mike Gillislee that carries the load for the Bills rushing attack. When given the opportunity, Williams has been highly productive. Averaging 6.0 yards per carry this season, Williams has a total of seven touchdowns on only 76 touches this season. And this week's matchup is favorable as the Cowboys have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

RB - Bilal Powell, New York Jets (vs. NE)

Over the past three weeks, Powell has been extremely productive -- perhaps more so than most have realized. In fact, he's been a top-12 fantasy running back each week in standard-scoring formats. Here's the list of running backs with three top-12 weekly finishes over the past three weeks: Bilal Powell.

End of list.

With 20 receptions on 25 targets for 191 yards during that span, Powell has been even better in PPR scoring. Powell has a minimum of five catches and 19.2 PPR points in each of those three games. While he may not continue his streak of 20-point PPR games, he's ranked inside my top-20 fantasy running backs (standard scoring) for the week.

- Related Poll: Will Powell finish as a top-24 RB (standard scoring) in Week 16?

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 16:

RB - C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (vs. CIN)

What a disappointing season it has been for Anderson! Drafted as a mid-to-late first-rounder, Anderson has had a couple of big games this season, but he has struggled to string together multiple productive outings. Over his past five games played, CJA has scored 0.9, 7.2, 27.3, 5.4 and 2.0 fantasy points, respectively.

I am actually in a league where I drafted CJA with the last pick in Round 1 and I'm in the league's Championship Game. That said, I've managed to pick up guys like West, Thomas Rawls (before IR) and others to pick up his slack along the way. Given Anderson's lack of consistency this season, there's no way that I could trust him in a less-than-favorable matchup.

RB - Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (at KC)

One week after leading all running backs in fantasy points scored, Crowell gained just 23 yards on nine carries and added three catches for seven yards. Crowell has 3.0 or fewer fantasy points in five of his past eight games and he doesn't have a favorable matchup this week either. The Chiefs have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. In addition, only the Rams (14.0) are projected to score fewer points than the Browns (15.5) based on Vegas odds this week.

RB - Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots (at NYJ)

With Joey Iosefa (yes, Joey Iosefa) getting more carries than "starter" Brandon Bolden last week, it's hard to trust Bolden this week -- or any week. Added to the mix will be Steven Jackson, who hasn't played all season. In fact, LeGarrette Blount had just three carries for MINUS three yards in Week 7 against the Jets. This week's game plan should be pass-heavy so I wouldn't trust any Patriots running back not named James White. Not only do the Jets rank second in the NFL in rushing defense (82.8 YPG allowed), but they have allowed a league-low two rushing touchdowns this season.

RB - C.J. Spiller, New Orleans Saints (vs. JAX)

I get that you wouldn't even consider starting Spiller as bad and fantasy-irrelevant as he's been. A spike in Spiller's offensive involvement at least seemed reasonable following Mark Ingram's injury. Silly me.

With both Ingram and Khiry Robinson landing on IR, Tim Hightower has dominated touches over Spiller -- 45 to 10 in the past two games combined. As another comparison, Hightower had 8.5 fantasy points last week alone; Spiller has a total of 7.7 fantasy points in his past six games combined. Ugh!

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 16

Week 16 Fantasy Football Rankings:

Week 16 DFS Cheat Sheets:

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 16 (Yanotchko)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 16 of the 2015 NFL season:

New England Patriots -3 over New York Jets (3 units)

The Jets have certainly been hot as of late, and the sad thing is that even if they win out, they still could miss the playoffs. The Patriots have had quite the hard time this year with the injury bug, and Tom Brady will be missing Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman for this game. But with a win, they ensure the AFC goes through Foxboro.

The one part that is flying under the radar about the Patriots, is their front-seven this year, as they limit the opposition to 95.8 rushing yards per game, and they are tied for the league lead with 47 sacks. This is the type of game where the Pats will handle their business, and remember Brady was able to carve this Jets defense for 355 yards and two touchdowns. This will be a game with a classic Belichick scheme to blunt the Jets offense, and I will lay the three points here.

Carolina Panthers -7 over Atlanta Falcons (4 units)

The Panthers are going for history, and I think they will be playing out the season going for the 16-0, and the chance to be undefeated. These two teams played each other on December 14th, and the result was not pretty, as the Falcons got flattened 38-0. The Panthers have a great defensive line and Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis are two of the best linebackers in the league. Their rush defense limits opposing rushers to 90.1 yards per game.

In the previous matchup, the Panthers limited star running back Devonta Freeman to 40 yards total in the game. This will be yet another game that the MVP Cam Newton takes over and I really don't think the Falcons are still even within a TD of the Panthers at home.

St. Louis Rams +13 over Seattle Seahawks (4 units)

Besides Kansas City, the hottest team in the league has definitely been the Seattle Seahawks, but the one team that is their Achilles heel is the St. Louis Rams. The Rams have great history against the Seahawks, as they have gone 5-2 against the spread in their last seven games. Also, I think the Seahawks still have offensive line problems, and the Rams can easily pressure the quarterback with their defensive line, as they have 36 sacks on the year. I also feel that all of the running back injuries will finally catch up with Seattle, and while I feel that they will win this one, it won't be a blowout.

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Kirk Cousins throws for 365 yards, 4 TDs; Redskins clinch NFC East

You like that?!

One of the players on the start'em side of my Week 16 Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em column, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for 365 yards and four touchdowns against the Eagles.

It was Cousins' second consecutive game with 300-plus yards and four touchdowns and he finished the game with 30.2 fantasy points.

Over his past nine games, Cousins has scored 30-plus fantasy points three times and 20-plus fantasy points in six of those games.

During that nine-game span, Cousins has six 300-yard passing games and he's thrown a total of 20 touchdowns and only three interceptions. In addition, he has run in another four touchdowns over that stretch.

Connecting with tight end Jordan Reed on two first-quarter touchdowns, Reed finished the game with nine catches for 129 yards and two scores. Reed has 25/333/5 over his past three games combined. Pierre Garcon and Chris Thompson caught Cousins other two touchdowns.

With Washington clinching the division Saturday night, it's unclear how much Cousins and the starters will play next week at Dallas.

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Jordan Reed hauls in 9 catches for 129 yards and 2 TDs

Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed continued his recent hot streak against the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday night.

Reed finished the game with nine catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns. In fact, Reed caught both of his touchdowns in the first quarter.

Before this week, Reed had finished as fantasy's TE1 in back-to-back games and Saturday's performance (24.9 fantasy points) was his best of that three-game span.

Over his past three games, Reed has 25 receptions for 333 yards and five touchdowns.

On the season, he has 83 catches for 907 yards, a single-season franchise record for a tight end, and 11 touchdowns.

With Washington clinching the NFC East title in Saturday night's win, it's unclear whether the team will rest Reed and their starters next week in Dallas.

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December 26, 2015

Week 16 Fantasy Football: Updated QB Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Kirk Cousins is listed below as a "start" for Week 16. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 16 with him as my starting quarterback.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Ben Roethlisberger and Cousins, you should start Big Ben -- and in turn, bench Cousins.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 16:

QB - Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (at NO)

One of the biggest surprises in fantasy football this season, Bortles enters Championship Week with the fifth-most fantasy points among quarterbacks -- just ahead of Aaron Rodgers (QB6). Even better, Bortles has been a consistent producer; in other words, his unexpected production isn't due to only a few big games.

Since Week 2, Bortles has finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in nine weeks. Over the past four weeks, he's finished as a top-eight performer with a minimum of 22 fantasy points in each of those games. During that four-game span, Bortles has averaged a tad shy of 300 passing yards (299.5/G) and he's thrown 11 touchdowns to only two interceptions. In addition, he has 93 rushing yards and two more scores over that stretch.

The good times should continue to roll for Bortles and the Jags passing offense. No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than the Saints. The Saints have allowed a top-three weekly finish in six of their 14 games this season and Bortles is my third-ranked quarterback for the week behind only Big Ben and Cam Newton.

QB - Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (at PHI)

As I tweeted earlier this week, Cam Newton (four times), Russell Wilson (twice) and Cousins (twice) have finished as the top-scoring fantasy quarterback in eight of the past nine weeks. (Saints QB Drew Brees was the exception in Week 8.)

Someone else may finish as this week's top-scoring quarterback, after all I have Big Ben in the top spot of my rankings, but Cousins at least has QB1 upside given this week's matchup against the Eagles. Only the Saints and Giants have allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and the Eagles have surrendered 21 touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in their past seven games. In addition, the Eagles are dealing with a number of key injuries in their secondary.

Including his two QB1 performances, Cousins has five top-10 outings in his past eight games. During that eight-game span, he has averaged slightly more than 275 passing yards per game with 20 touchdowns (16 passing and four rushing) and only three interceptions.

QB - Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (vs. NE)

Before last week's relatively disappointing (fantasy) performance, Fitzpatrick had finished as the weekly QB3, QB8 and QB4, respectively, in his previous three games. Going into the final week of the fantasy season, Fitzpatrick has scored the 10th-most fantasy points among quarterbacks.

In the games that Fitzpatrick did not leave early due to injury, he has accounted for multiple touchdowns in 11 of 13 games. One of those multi-TD games was his Week 7 matchup against the Patriots when he scored 20.7 fantasy points and finished as fantasy's QB8.

QB - Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (vs. SF)

In the first five games of the season, Stafford finished outside the top-15 fantasy quarterbacks in every game. Since then, however, Stafford has finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in five of nine games and has averaged 20.9 fantasy points per game over that stretch.

With multiple touchdowns in four consecutive games, Stafford has compiled an impressive 12:1 TD-to-INT ratio during that span. The 49ers have been middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks and have allowed only two passing scores in their past four games, but Stafford is still a back-end QB1 for Week 16.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 16:

QB - Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (vs. CAR)

We only have to look back two weeks for a glimpse of how Week 16 may play out for Ryan. In his first matchup against the Panthers (Week 14), Ryan threw for 224 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. In addition, he lost a fumble and finished with 4.86 fantasy points, 29th-most among Week 14 quarterbacks.

Allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, Eli Manning's QB9 performance last week was only the second time the Panthers have allowed a top-12 outing this season. The other time was to Aaron Rodgers in Week 9.

QB - Eli Manning, New York Giants (at MIN)

Despite a difficult matchup on paper, Eli threw four pass touchdowns for a second consecutive game. Over his past six games, he has thrown multiple touchdowns five times and a total of 21 scores. One big problem this week is the absence of Odell Beckham Jr., who was suspended for this week's game. With the loss of OBJ and in a less-than-average matchup, Eli and the Giants are only projected to score 19.75 (25th-most) based on Vegas odds.

QB - Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (vs. IND)

Tannehill has thrown for 236 yards or less, in some cases much less, and a total of two passing touchdowns over the past three weeks. To make matters worse, two of those games were elite matchups against the Ravens and Giants, both of whom rank among the seven friendliest defenses to fantasy quarterbacks. Indianapolis hasn't been much better than Baltimore or New York, but can you trust that Tannehill will exploit the matchup?

QB - Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. WAS)

Since Week 6, Bradford has failed to finish as a top-15 quarterback in any of his games. The good news is that he threw for 361 yards and two touchdowns against the Cardinals last week, but he turned the ball over three times as well. More good news is that facing Washington is obviously a more favorable proposition than facing Arizona's defense. That said, now isn't the time to start trusting Bradford or the Eagles offense.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 16

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 16 (Trifone)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 16 of the 2015 NFL season:

Washington Redskins +3 over Philadelphia Eagles (3 units)

The Redskins have an opportunity to win the division with a victory over the Eagles tonight. They've been playing solid football of late and Kirk Cousins actually holds the highest completion percentage in the league. I like the Redskins to win this one outright so I'll take the three points on the road.

Cleveland Browns +11 over Kansas City Chiefs (3 units)

Cleveland is certainly just playing for next year while the Chiefs are trying to lock up a playoff spot. Kansas City has won eight in a row and should have no trouble handling the Browns. However, I like Johnny Manziel and Cleveland to cover the 11 points. The Chiefs put up over 30 last week, but scored two defensive touchdowns. I don't think the offense will score enough to blow out the Browns so give me the points here.

Pittsburgh Steelers -10.5 over Baltimore Ravens (4 units)

This is a pretty big spread, but the Pittsburgh offense with Ben Roethlisberger has been all but unstoppable. They have all kinds of weapons and should have no trouble scoring 30-plus points again this week. They still need to keep winning to make sure they hang on to their wildcard spot. Baltimore has been decimated by injuries and just don't have the personnel to hang with the Steelers.

New York Giants +6 over Minnesota Vikings (3 units)

If the Redskins do win against the Eagles on Saturday, the Giants may just be playing for pride. With Odell Beckham Jr. out for this one, the Giants will need to find other weapons to keep them in the game against Minnesota. I like this to be a low-scoring affair with neither side getting out to too big of a lead at any point. I'll take the Giants with the points.

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 16 (Hanson)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 16 of the 2015 NFL season:

Seattle Seahawks -13 over St. Louis Rams (2 units)

Looking back at the past eight times these two teams have met in Seattle (all Seattle wins), the Seahawks have won seven of those games by double-digit points. In addition, the Rams have not scored more than 13 points in Seattle in any of their past eight games. In fact, they have scored a total of just four touchdowns in their past eight games there. (Granted, the Rams won their OT matchup in Week 1 in St. Louis.)

The Seahawks have lost Marshawn Lynch, and then Thomas Rawls, and have turned the rushing attack over to Christine Michael, 2.0, with some Bryce Brown and Fred Jackson mixed in. That said, Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin and the passing offense is firing on all cylinders. In his past five games, Wilson has 20 touchdowns -- 19 passing and one rushing -- and no interceptions.

[Related Poll: How many TDs will Baldwin score in Week 16?]

Since averaging 6.12 yards per carry in his first five NFL games, Rams rookie running back Todd Gurley has averaged just 3.86 YPC over his past seven games. And those numbers would look a lot worse if it weren't for a 16/140/2 game against the Lions. Meanwhile, the Seahawks have allowed only three 50-yard rushers since Week 7: Darren McFadden (20 carries for 64 yards), Andre Ellington (five for 61) and Chris Johnson (25 for 58).

The size of the point spread is a small (or I guess large, depending on your perspective) concern, but I expect the Seahawks to win this one going away as they are playing their best football of the season at the right time.

Redskins vs. Eagles -- Over 49.0 (2 units)

With an ability to clinch the division on the road, Washington has had much less success outside of FedEx Field this season. Only 1-5 on the road this season, they close the regular season out in Philadelphia (tonight) and Dallas (next week).

One of the biggest reasons for their ability to clinch the division tonight has been the play of Kirk Cousins. Whether they should show him the money is another question, but Cousins has compiled a 16:3 TD-to-INT ratio over his past eight games. In fact, he has accounted for 20 touchdowns with four rushing scores over that span as well. Not only will DeSean Jackson get a chance to face his former team, but Jordan Reed is having a breakout season (74/778/9).

Meanwhile, the Eagles defense ranks 29th in the NFL (393.3 yards per game allowed). In addition, the Redskins defense hasn't been all that much better (25th, 370.0 YPG). With an over/under of 49, I could easily see this game turn out to be a 27-24 contest.

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Poll: Will Sammy Watkins extend his TD streak to 5G in Week 16?

Several players have an active streak of three of more games with a touchdown heading into Week 16.

Interestingly enough, the player -- Odell Beckham Jr. (five games) -- with the longest such streak is suspended for Week 16.

Three wide receivers have an active four-game scoring streak -- Jacksonville's Allen Robinson, Seattle's Doug Baldwin and Buffalo's Sammy Watkins.

Earlier in the season, Watkins voiced his frustrations about his lack of targets in Buffalo's run-first offense. During his four-game scoring spree, however, Watkins has double-digit targets in three of four games.

Over that four-game stretch, Watkins has a total of 19 catches for 459 yards and six touchdowns. In addition, he has three 100-yard games and a minimum of 81 yards in each of those contests.

With LeSean McCoy (MCL) doubtful for this week, we will see a heavy dose of Karlos Williams and Mike Gillislee against a vulnerable Cowboys run defense. But Watkins should be heavily targeted once again.

That said, the matchup isn't favorable, at least on paper. Going into Championship Week, the Cowboys have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season.

Will Watkins for a fifth consecutive game in Week 16?

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Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS): Week 16 Values for DraftKings Contests

In a salary-cap format, finding players that give you a bang for the buck is key to constructing a profitable lineup.

Looking ahead to Sunday, I've identified some players that I believe are undervalued based on their DraftKings price tag. In some cases, they are cheap in absolute terms, but the focus here is on relative values -- projected output versus current salary.

With that said, here are some of my favorite value plays for Week 16 (Sunday/Monday games only):

QB - Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL), $6,800

While not necessarily a bargain-bin quarterback for the week, there is plenty of value with Big Ben this week. Ranked first overall in my Week 16 rankings, Roethlisberger is tied with Drew Brees as the sixth-most expensive DraftKings quarterback this week.

With the Steelers scoring 30-plus (real-life) points in six consecutive games, Roethlisberger has scored a minimum of 25 DraftKings points in five of those six games. In each of those 25-point outings, he has thrown for 300-plus yards, which is a three-point bonus with DK scoring. Over that six-game span, Big Ben has averaged 365.8 passing yards per game and thrown a total of 13 touchdowns.

Baltimore has allowed the eighth-most DraftKings points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Roethlisberger is as safe as can be for cash games and he has tremendous upside in tournaments as well.

QB - Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (at NO), $6,500

Finishing with a minimum of 25.28 DK points in each of his past four games, Bortles has averaged a tad shy of 300 passing yards (299.5/G) and has thrown 11 touchdowns to only two interceptions. In addition, he has 93 rushing yards and two more scores over that stretch.

Bortles faces a Saints team that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. In addition, the Saints have allowed a top-three weekly finish in six of their 14 games this season.

There are seven quarterbacks priced higher than Bortles this week, but he's third in my Week 16 rankings behind only Big Ben and Cam Newton. And the fact that he's priced so closely to Roethlisberger, Bortles ownership levels may not as high as would otherwise be the case.

QB - Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (vs. NE), $5,200

Priced only $200 above the position-minimum salary, Fitzpatrick offers plenty of bang for the buck. Excluding the game he left early due to injury, Fitzpatrick has accounted for multiple touchdowns in 11 of 13 games this season including the first time he faced the Patriots. In that game, Fitzpatrick threw for 295 yards and two scores and ran for another 29 yards.

Over his past four games, Fitzpatrick has thrown 10 touchdowns and only one interception with an average of 307.25 passing yards per game. In addition, he's averaged roughly 20 (19.75) rushing yards per game as well. With the exception of the game left early, Fitzpatrick has scored a minimum of 14 fantasy points in every game this season.

RB - David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (vs. GB), $5,800

Scoring a league-most 47.9 DraftKings points in Week 15, Johnson rushed for 187 yards and three touchdowns and added four catches for 42 yards as well. It would be unreasonable to expect a repeat performance, but he has been consistently productive since taking over as the team's lead back three weeks ago.

Over his past three games, Johnson has a minimum of 24 touches and 110 yards from scrimmage in each of those games. And despite a limited number of touches (135) this season, Johnson has scored a total of 12 touchdowns -- seven rushing, four receiving and one return.

There are 10 running backs with a higher salary than Johnson, but three of them won't play this weekend. That said, there are not seven running backs better than DJ this weekend.

RB - Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. CLE), $5,700

Against the Ravens on Sunday, West carried the ball 16 times for 76 yards and a touchdown plus he added two catches for nine yards. It was his best performance and largest workload since departing early in a Week 11 matchup against the Chargers.

Before his injury, West had a minimum of 24 touches and 22 DK points in three straight games. It's unlikely that he gets 24 or more touches this week, but the matchup against the Browns is favorable. In addition, the Chiefs are favored by double digits so they should be playing with a lead for much of the game.

RB - Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts (at MIA), $4,000

While I wouldn't roll Gore out in my cash lineups, Gore has a favorable matchup as he returns home to Miami. Only the Saints and 49ers have allowed more fantasy points to opposing running backs than the Dolphins, who have allowed 132.1 rushing yards per game and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Averaging only 2.81 yards per carry over his past seven games, the good news is that Gore has a minimum of 16 touches in each of those games with an average of 20.57/G during that stretch. With his consistent usage rate and favorable matchup, Gore is worth a flier in tournaments.

RB - Bilal Powell, New York Jets (vs. NE), $3,900

Over the past three weeks, Powell has been extremely productive -- perhaps more so than you have realized. In fact, he's been a top-12 fantasy running back each week in standard-scoring formats. Here's the list of running backs with three top-12 weekly finishes over the past three weeks: Bilal Powell.

End of list.

With 20 receptions on 25 targets for 191 yards during that span, Powell has been even better in PPR (DraftKings) scoring. Powell has a minimum of five catches and 19.2 DraftKings points in each of those three games. While he may not continue his streak of 20-point games, it's highly likely that he exceeds value on his below-$4,000 salary, offering salary-cap relief to load up elsewhere.

- Related Poll: Will Powell finish as a top-24 RB (standard scoring) in Week 16?

RB - Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (at MIN), $3,500

Another NY (or NJ) running back should provide DFSers with plenty of production and salary-cap relief this week. Spending most of the season as part of a four-man rotation, Jennings has seen a spike in workload over the past two weeks. In those two games, he has a minimum of 17 touches each week and a total of 41.

Although he lost a fumble last week against the Panthers, it was his most productive outing of the season. Jennings rushed 16 times for 107 yards and a touchdown to score 19.7 DK points. It's not too often that a 20-touch back is available for the discounted salary of $3,500 even though the matchup isn't necessarily favorable.

WR - Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. CLE), $6,000

Maclin has a minimum of six catches and 50 yards in four consecutive games and he has scored a total of four touchdowns during that span. During that four-game span, Maclin has averaged 23.53 DraftKings points per contest with a minimum of 12.6 in each of those games. Ranked as a top-10 wideout for Week 16, Maclin is priced lower than 16 other wide receivers on DraftKings this week. The Browns have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points (DK scoring) to opposing receivers this season.

WR - Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL), $5,600

Without question, Bryant's teammate, Antonio Brown, is the clear-cut top fantasy receiver for Week 16. That said, few receivers (on other teams) have a better outlook than Bryant. The Ravens have allowed third-most DraftKings points to opposing receivers this season. Over their past nine games, Baltimore has allowed opposing receivers to haul in 18 touchdowns.

Held without a touchdown in back-to-back games, Bryant had a total of six touchdowns in his first seven games this season. In addition, the second-year wideout has the longest reception of 2014 (94 yards) and 2015 (88 yards). While he's one of the best big-play receivers in the NFL, Bryant has double-digit targets in three of five games and is averaging 9.56 targets per game on the year. While Bryant is my ninth-ranked receiver this week, there are 23 with a lower salary.

WR - Kamar Aiken, Baltimore Ravens (vs. PIT), $5,400

It's not only Bryant and the Steelers receivers that have a favorable matchup in this game. In fact, the Steelers have allowed the most DraftKings points to the position this season. Coming off an 8/128/1 performance against the Chiefs last week, Aiken has a minimum of five catches and has scored double-digit fantasy points in seven consecutive games.

WR - Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL), $4,100

With teammates Brown and Bryant such strong plays this week, Wheaton will be relatively overlooked, but he's certainly a fine option in his own right. Kicking off a four-game stretch with a career-best 201-yard performance against the Seahawks, Wheaton has a total of 22 catches, 378 yards and three touchdowns over that span. Not only does he have a minimum of 50 yards in each of those games, but he has scored in three of the four and he's averaging 9.25 targets over that stretch.

WR - Rueben Randle, New York Giants (at MIN), $3,500

Randle has scored and finished with double-digit fantasy points in back-to-back games and in four of his past six games. Averaging only 5.57 targets per game, Randle should see that volume spike with the one-game suspension of Odell Beckham Jr. Priced only $500 above minimum salary, Randle should easily exceed value this week.

TE - Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars (at NO), $5,100

Thomas has the best matchup on the board as no team has allowed more fantasy points to the position than the Saints. Over his past five games, Thomas has scored more than 13 fantasy points in four of five weeks and has a total of 27 catches for 292 yards and four touchdowns over that stretch.

TE - Will Tye, New York Giants (at MIN), $3,500

Tye has finished as a top-10 weekly tight end in three consecutive games. In addition, Tye has five-plus catches in four of five games and he has either 50-plus yards or a score in all five consecutive games. He has scored double-digit fantasy points in five consecutive games. With OBJ sidelined this week, Tye should see a bump in targets and extend his streak of games with at least 10 DraftKings points.

- Week 16 DFS DraftKings Cheat Sheet

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December 25, 2015

Poll: Kirk Cousins Week 16 fantasy points, O/U: 19.5?

Over the past nine weeks, only four different quarterbacks have finished as the week's top-scoring fantasy quarterback.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees did so in Week 8, and three others have done so multiple weeks: Cam Newton (four times), Russell Wilson (twice) and Kirk Cousins (twice).

Including his two QB1 performances, Cousins has finished with more than 20 fantasy points and as a weekly top-10 producer in five of his past eight games.

During that eight-game span, he has averaged slightly more than 275 passing yards per game with 20 touchdowns (16 passing and four rushing) and only three interceptions.

Someone else may finish as this week's top-scoring quarterback, after all I have Ben Roethlisberger in the top spot of my rankings, but Cousins at least has QB1 upside given this week's matchup against the Eagles.

Only the Saints and Giants have allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and the Eagles have surrendered 21 touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in their past seven games.

As of now, Cousins is eighth in my Week 16 rankings, one spot ahead of Aaron Rodgers.

Will Cousins score 20-plus fantasy points in Week 16?

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December 24, 2015

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS): Week 16 Values for FanDuel Contests

In a salary-cap format like FanDuel, the key to long-term profitability is finding players that are undervalued compared to their salaries.

Most of the players that I've listed in this post will be values in both absolute and relative terms, but the focus is on relative values. In other words, the players listed may not carry bargain-bin price tags, but my ranking for all players on this list is more favorable than their corresponding FanDuel price tag.

With that said, here are some of my favorite value plays for Week 16:

QB - Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (at NO), $8,200

Finishing with a minimum of 23.46 FanDuel points in each of his past four games, Bortles has averaged a tad shy of 300 passing yards (299.5/G) and has thrown 11 touchdowns to only two interceptions. In addition, he has 93 rushing yards and two more scores over that stretch. Heading into Week 16, Bortles has scored the fifth-most fantasy points among quarterbacks -- just ahead of Aaron Rodgers (QB6).

With the top matchup on the board, Bortles gets a Saints team that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. In addition, the Saints have allowed a top-three weekly finish in six of their 14 games this season. While there are six quarterbacks with a higher price tag than Bortles ($8,200), only Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton are ranked higher in my Week 16 rankings.

QB - Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (at PHI), $7,500

Not only does he have six top-nine weekly finishes over his past 11 games, Cousins has finished as the QB1 or QB2 in three of those games. Over his past eight games, Cousins has averaged slightly more than 275 passing yards per game with 20 touchdowns (16 passing and four rushing) and only three interceptions. As Cousins would say, "you like that?"

Given his elite matchup against the Eagles, who have surrendered the third-most fantasy points to the position, Cousins has legitimate QB1 upside this week. In their past seven games, the Eagles have surrendered 21 touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks.

RB - David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (vs. GB), $7,400

Scoring a league-most 42.9 FanDuel points in Week 15, Johnson rushed for 187 yards and three touchdowns and added four catches for 42 yards as well. It would be unreasonable to expect another 40-pointer from the rookie out of Northern Iowa, but he has been consistent since taking over as the team's lead back three weeks ago.

Over his past three games, Johnson has a minimum of 24 touches and 110 yards from scrimmage in each of those games. And despite a limited number of touches (135) this season, Johnson has scored a total of 12 touchdowns -- seven rushing, four receiving and one return. With only the seventh-highest FanDuel salary among running backs, Johnson is my second-ranked option this week.

RB - Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders (vs. SD), $6,100

Few running backs have received a larger and more consistent workload than Murray this season. Averaging 19.14 touches per game, Murray's 268 touches ranks fourth in the NFL. Not only does he have 22-plus touches in three of his past four games, but he has at least 16 touches in all but one game this season.

The fifth-leading rusher in the NFL (956 yards), Murray has not run the ball as well recently -- 3.02 yards per carry over his past five games compared to 4.71 YPC in his first nine. That said, he had success against the Chargers in his first matchup (15/85/1 rushing) and the Bolts currently allow the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.
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RB - Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers (at OAK), $5,900

It's unlikely that Woodhead repeats last week's monster 33.0-point performance, but then again, he racked up a total of 27.6 against the Raiders earlier this season. In that game, Woodhead had only eight rushing yards, but he was a huge part of the passing game with 11 catches for 75 yards and two touchdowns.

Earlier this week, the Chargers placed MG3 on IR and perhaps that leads to a few extra early-down carries. But Woodhead derives his fantasy value from his role in the passing game -- 64 catches for a position-high 651 yards -- and the trust he has from Philip Rivers in the red zone.

RB - Bilal Powell, New York Jets (vs. NE), $5,900

In our DFS Roundtable post for Week 16, Powell was my choice as my favorite DraftKings play for Week 16. While his salary isn't as low on FanDuel and there isn't full PPR scoring (like on DraftKings), Powell is one of my favorite running back plays for Week 16 here as well. Scoring in three consecutive games, Powell has scored a minimum of 16.7 fantasy points (FanDuel scoring) per game. Over that three-game stretch, Powell has 20 catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns on 25 targets.

- Related Poll: Will Powell finish as a top-24 RB (standard scoring) in Week 16?

RB - Karlos Williams, Buffalo Bills (vs. DAL), $5,400

After sitting out two games, Williams carried the ball four times for 41 yards on Sunday. In nine games this season, Williams has averaged 6.0 yards per carry and scored a total of seven touchdowns on just 76 touches this year. With a torn MCL, LeSean McCoy is "week to week" and likely done for the season with the Bills eliminated from playoff contention.

Teammate Mike Gillislee has been productive in his three games with Buffalo and he should get plenty of work as well, but Williams is a great tournament play for Week 16. The Cowboys have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season and 37 running backs that carry a higher price tag than Williams on FanDuel this week.

WR - Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL), $7,200

Without question, Bryant's teammate, Antonio Brown, is the clear-cut top fantasy receiver for Week 16. That said, few receivers (on other teams) have a better outlook than Bryant. No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing receivers this season than the Ravens. Over their past nine games, Baltimore has allowed opposing receivers to haul in 18 touchdowns.

Held without a touchdown in back-to-back games, Bryant had a total of six touchdowns in his first seven games this season. In addition, the second-year wideout has the longest reception of 2014 (94 yards) and 2015 (88 yards). While he's one of the best big-play receivers in the NFL, Bryant has double-digit targets in three of five games and is averaging 9.56 targets per game on the year.

WR - Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. CLE), $6,900

Maclin has a minimum of six catches and 50 yards in four consecutive games and he has scored a total of four touchdowns during that span. During that four-game span, Maclin has averaged 18.65 FanDuel points per contest with a minimum of 9.6 in each of those games. Ranked as a top-10 wideout for Week 16, Maclin is priced lower than 22 other wide receivers on FanDuel this week. The Browns have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season.

WR - Kamar Aiken, Baltimore Ravens (vs. PIT), $6,600

It's not only Bryant and the Steelers receivers that have a favorable matchup in this game. The Steelers have allowed the second-most fantasy points to the position this season. Coming off an 8/128/1 performance against the Chiefs last week, Aiken has a minimum of five catches in seven consecutive games. In addition, Aiken has scored double-digit fantasy points in five of his past six games.

WR - Rueben Randle, New York Giants (at MIN), $5,700

Randle has scored and finished with double-digit fantasy points in back-to-back games and in four of his past six games. Averaging only 5.57 targets per game, Randle should see that volume spike with the one-game suspension of Odell Beckham Jr. With a salary lower than 45 other receivers, Randle should easily exceed value this week.

TE - Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers (at OAK), $6,400

The Raiders have been a lightly better at defending tight ends recently, but they have still allowed the second-most fantasy points to the position in 2015. The first time that the Chargers faced the Raiders, Gates sat out. That said, fellow tight end Ladarius Green scored a touchdown and had a pair of two-point conversions against them.

Gates hasn't scored since Week 12, but he has exactly six catches in three consecutive weeks. It wouldn't surprise me if Philip Rivers and Gates connected for a touchdown, or two, this week. Gates has a total of 21 multi-touchdown games in his career, the most of any active player since he entered the league.

TE - Benjamin Watson, New Orleans Saints (vs. JAX), $6,400

With double-digit targets in back-to-back games, Watson has now finished as a top-12 weekly tight end in three consecutive weeks. On the season, Watson has 67 catches for 761 yards and five touchdowns and the eighth-most fantasy points among tight ends. Watson gets a great matchup this week as the Jags have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to the position this season. The only concern for him this week is the availability of Drew Brees (foot) although Brees says that he will play.

TE - Will Tye, New York Giants (at MIN), $5,100

Tye has finished as a top-10 weekly tight end in three consecutive games. In addition, Tye has five-plus catches in four of five games and he has either 50-plus yards or a score in all five consecutive games. With OBJ sidelined this week, Tye should see a bump in targets and extend his streak of games with at least eight FanDuel points.

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Panthers rule out Jonathan Stewart for Week 16

Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart missed last week's game against the Giants and he'll miss this week's game against the Falcons as well.

With Stewart ruled out, Cameron Artis-Payne should lead the backfield once again in a favorable matchup.

While Cam Newton ran the ball eight times for 100 yards last week, Artis Payne (14) had twice as many carries as the team's other running backs -- Mike Tolbert (five) and Fozzy Whittaker (two).

CAP gained 59 yards on those 14 carries and he added two receptions for 34 yards as well.

Through Week 15, the Falcons have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.

When I update my rankings later today, I'll move Artis-Payne up more from his current RB28 spot and he's at least a viable RB2 in Championship Week.

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Poll: How many touchdowns will Doug Baldwin score in Week 16?

It's been a historic four-game stretch for Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin. Nearly half of Baldwin's 21 receptions have gone for touchdowns (10).

With a minimum of two touchdowns in each of those four games, Baldwin joins Cris Carter and Calvin Johnson as the only three players in NFL history with a minimum of two receiving touchdowns in four consecutive games.

A two-TD performance this weekend will give him sole possession of that record/distinction.

Here's another way to look at Baldwin's four-game run: only eight other players -- six receivers and two tight ends -- have at least 10 touchdowns for the entire season.

Tied with Odell Beckham Jr. and Allen Robinson for the league lead in touchdowns (13), Baldwin has a total of 65 catches for a career-high 905 yards.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has his own impressive streak going with five consecutive games with three-plus touchdowns including a pair of five-TD games during that stretch. But Baldwin has caught 10 of 16 touchdowns over the past four weeks.

Primarily due to his last four to six games, Baldwin has moved into the top-seven fantasy wide receivers through Week 15. Going into Week 16, Baldwin is among my top-10 fantasy wide receivers (standard scoring).

St. Louis has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season, but a hamstring injury may be a bigger problem for Baldwin.

Assuming he plays, however, will Baldwin extend his touchdown streak this week? Will he score more than once?

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Week 16 Fantasy Football: Tight Ends Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Julius Thomas is listed below as a "start" for Week 16. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 16 with him as my starting tight end.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Rob Gronkowski and Thomas, you should start Gronk -- and in turn, bench Thomas.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 16:

TE - Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers (at OAK)

Providing Gates fantasy owners with an early Christmas present, the Raiders defense has been awfully generous to the position throughout the year. Granted, they have been a little better defending the position recently, but they have still allowed the second-most fantasy points to the position in 2015.

The first time that the Chargers faced the Raiders, Gates sat out. That said, fellow tight end Ladarius Green did score a touchdown and a pair of two-point conversions against them. Gates hasn't scored since Week 12, but he has exactly six catches in three consecutive weeks. It wouldn't surprise me if Philip Rivers and Gates connected for a touchdown, or two, this week.

TE - Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars (at NO)

As noted above, Thomas and the Jags tight ends have the most favorable matchup of the week as no team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than the Saints. Eight different tight ends facing the Saints have finished as a weekly top-eight fantasy tight end this season and I expect Thomas to be the ninth.

Over his past five games, Thomas has scored a minimum of 7.5 fantasy points every week and has a total of 27 catches for 292 yards and four touchdowns over that stretch. During that five-game stretch, Thomas has averaged 7.8 targets per game and has finished as a top-10 fantasy tight end four times.

TE - Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins (at PHI)

Reed has now finished as the top-scoring fantasy tight end in back-to-back weeks and he has done so in three of the past nine weeks. In his past two games combined, Reed has 16 catches for 204 yards and three touchdowns and has finished with at least 18 fantasy points in each game. On the season, Reed is averaging 6.17 catches, 64.83 yards and 0.75 touchdowns on 8.25 targets per game. This week, Reed will face the Eagles, who have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, but he's still my top-ranked tight end not named Gronk.

TE - Benjamin Watson, New Orleans Saints (vs. JAX)

With double-digit targets in back-to-back games, Watson has now finished as a top-12 weekly tight end in three consecutive weeks. On the season, Watson has 67 catches for 761 yards and five touchdowns and the eighth-most fantasy points among tight ends.

Watson gets a great matchup this week as the Jags have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to the position this season. The only concern for him this week is the availability of Drew Brees (foot).

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 16:

TE - Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL)

Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense has been firing on all cylinders lately with 30-plus points in six consecutive games. While Miller has plenty of receptions (35) and targets (47) during that span, he's averaging only 8.57 Y/A over that stretch and he hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 2. The wide receivers have a tremendous matchup against a Ravens secondary that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing receivers, but they haven't been as fantasy-friendly (third-fewest) to opposing tight ends.

TE - Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys (at BUF)

Since scoring a pair of touchdowns in the opener, Witten has been kept out of the end zone for 13 consecutive games. In addition, Witten has less than 50 receiving yards in eight consecutive games with an average of 37.25/G over that stretch. Perhaps things will be different this week with Kellen Moore getting the starting nod, but there is little upside for Witten in an average matchup.

TE - Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills (vs. DAL)

Clay missed last week's game with a back injury, but the Bills are "hoping" that he'll be good for Week 16. Highly productive in the first four games of the season (9.38 fantasy points per game), Clay has finished as a top-15 fantasy tight end only once over his past nine games. Considering the recent play and volume for Sammy Watkins and the less than favorable matchup against the Cowboys, who have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends, Clay deserves to remain on your bench should he be active this week.

TE - Jordan Cameron, Miami Dolphins (vs. IND)

What a disappointing season it has been for Cameron and his fantasy owners. Drafted as a starting (top-12) fantasy tight end, Cameron has been anything but for the vast majority of the season. In his past 12 games, he's finished as a top-20 fantasy tight end only three times: TE11 (Week 6), TE20 (Week 8) and TE10 (Week 11). For some reason, he's still owned in 49 percent of Yahoo! leagues as of Christmas Eve (morning), but he shouldn't even be worthy of a spot at the end of your bench.

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Week 16 Fantasy Football: Wide Receivers Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Doug Baldwin is listed below as a "start" for Week 16. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 16 with him as one of my starting receivers.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned Antonio Brown, Allen Robinson and Baldwin and started only two wide receivers, you should start Brown and Robinson -- and in turn, bench Baldwin.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 16:

WR - Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL)

Without question, Bryant's teammate, Antonio Brown, is the clear-cut top fantasy receiver for Week 16. That said, few receivers (on other teams) have a better outlook than Bryant. After all, Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense have scored 30-plus points in six consecutive games, which is tied for the sixth-longest streak in NFL history.

Held without a touchdown in back-to-back games, Bryant had a total of six touchdowns in his first seven games this season. Not only does the second-year wideout currently have the longest reception of 2014 (94 yards) and 2015 (88 yards), but the volume has been there as well. Bryant has double-digit targets in three of five games and is averaging 9.56 targets per game this year.

Posting a respectable 5.3/84.3/0.7 average stat line this season, Bryant, Brown and the Steelers receivers have the best matchup of the week. No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing receivers this season than the Ravens. Over their past nine games, Baltimore has allowed opposing receivers to haul in 18 touchdowns.

WR - Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks (vs. STL)

It's been a phenomenal four-game stretch for Baldwin, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks passing offense, in general. Nearly half of Baldwin's 21 receptions over that four-game span have gone for touchdowns (10). In fact, Baldwin's four-game, multi-TD streak is tied for the longest in NFL history with Calvin Johnson (2011) and Cris Carter (1995). With his recent production catapulting him into the top-seven fantasy wide receivers through Week 15, Baldwin has 65 catches for a career-high 905 yards and a league-leading 13 touchdowns.

The matchup isn't great on paper as the Rams have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. More concerning may be Baldwin's hamstring as it kept him off the practice field on Wednesday, but as long as he's active on Sunday, he's become a must-start at this point.

WR - Eric Decker, New York Jets (vs. NE)

Decker may be second on his own team in terms of fantasy points scored among wide receivers, but he's still been a top-10 producer going into Week 16. With 72 catches for 930 yards and 10 touchdowns, Decker has exceeded 80 yards and/or scored a touchdown in every game he's played this season. In his first matchup against the Patriots, Decker finished with six catches for 94 yards on 12 targets.

WR - Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (vs. SF)

Tate has not reached 75 receiving yards in any of his past 12 games, but he has pulled off a mini-Baldwin, if you will. Tate has scored multiple touchdowns in back-to-back games. In fact, Tate has twice as many receiving touchdowns as Megatron has catches over the past two weeks. With Johnson dealing with an ankle injury, Tate is ranked inside my top-24 receivers this week.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 16:

WR - T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (at MIA)

Perhaps he's due if the pattern of his recent performances are any indication: 2.1 fantasy points (weekly WR65), 21.5 (WR9), 3.6 (WR64), 13.2 (WR16) and 2.9 (WR78), respectively. In his past nine games, Hilton has finished as a top-16 receiver four times and outside the top-60 weekly receivers four times.

The matchup is favorable with the Dolphins allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing receivers, but Andrew Luck is out for another week and Hilton has complained about the team's reluctance to take shots down the field. Given the inconsistent production, Hilton is more of a WR3/flex for me this week.

WR - Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys (at BUF)

With a healthy Tony Romo, Bryant is virtually unstoppable. Since coming back from his foot injury, Dez has not been anything close to his once dominant self. In his past six games, Bryant has finished no better than the weekly WR20. During that six-game span, Bryant has had 62 yards or less in every game with an average of 39.5 per week.

Next season, Bryant will be a top-five fantasy receiver once again, but it's time for fantasy owners to shut him down this season even if Jerry Jones says the team will go "balls out" with Dez.

WR - Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (at ARI)

Since Week 4, Cobb has scored single-digit fantasy points in all but one of his 11 games. That also means that he has finished outside of the top-24 fantasy receivers in 10 of his past 11 games as well.

Among healthy wide receivers, there hasn't been a bigger disappointment than Cobb (WR29 through Week 15). While the season-ending injury to Tyrann Mathieu is a devastating blow to Arizona's pass defense, the Cardinals have allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season.

WR - Danny Amendola, New England Patriots (at NYJ)

Amendola had one catch for three yards before exiting Sunday's game with a knee injury. Limited in practice so far this week, it's unclear if Amendola will be able to go in Week 16. If he is active, he'll be at less than 100 percent and he always seems to be banged up.

Even though he had 8/86/1 in his first matchup against the Jets and I expect the Patriots to use a pass-heavy game plan (Tom Brady threw 54 pass attempts in Week 7), the risk of aggravating the injury puts him outside of my top-24 receivers for the week.

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DFS Roundtable: Favorite DraftKings Play for Week 16

Every week this season, our contributors will give their favorite plays for the week in DraftKings contests.

Q: Who is your favorite DraftKings play for Week 16?

Sean Beazley - Kamar Aiken, WR, Baltimore Ravens (vs. PIT), $5,400

One player that will be the center piece of my cash lineup this week is Kamar Aiken. Aiken comes in at a great price of $5400. He has a dream matchup this week vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers at home. The Steelers have giving up the most points to fantasy WRs this year, mainly due to the fact that their offense has been so efficient this past month or so.

Baltimore will likely be behind in this one, so Aiken should see plenty of targets. Aiken had a solid game vs. the Steelers in his previous meeting, and that was with a healthy Steve Smith and Justin Forsett. Aiken is the Ravens only reliable option at this point. I will be 100 percent on Aiken on all DFS sites in cash this week.

Brendan Donahue - Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL), $9,300

We learned once and for all last week that as long as Ben Roethlisberger is under center, Brown is matchup-proof. He put up a very impressive 16 catches for 189 yards and 2 TDs against a very tough Denver secondary and hopefully helped most of us get in the cash on DK last week.

So, if he can do that against Chris Harris and Denver, I'm very excited at his prospects against a Baltimore secondary that has given up the third-most fantasy points (DK scoring) to opposing WRs on the year. In his last seven games, he's averaging over 14 targets a game and if he gets 14 targets against this Baltimore defense, he should easily be the No. 1 WR this week and should be in your lineups.

Kevin Hanson - Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets (vs. NE), $3,900

Over the past three weeks, Powell has been extremely productive -- perhaps more so than you have realized. In fact, he's been a top-12 fantasy running back each week in standard-scoring formats. Here's the list of running backs with three top-12 weekly finishes over the past three weeks: Bilal Powell.

End of list.

With 20 receptions on 25 targets for 191 yards during that span, Powell has been even better in PPR (DraftKings) scoring. Powell has a minimum of five catches and 19.2 DraftKings points in each of those three games. While he may not continue his streak of games with 20-plus points, it's highly likely that he exceeds value on his below-$4,000 salary, providing the salary-cap relief to load up elsewhere.

- Related Poll: Will Powell finish as a top-24 RB (standard scoring) in Week 16?

Dan Yanotchko - Markus Wheaton, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. PIT), $4,100

For a good GPP pick this week, I really like Markus Wheaton of the Steelers going against a very bad Ravens secondary. Wheaton has had a great four-game split -- 37 targets, 22 catches, 94.5 yard average and three touchdowns. At $4,100 and going up against a team that has given up 28 TDs through the air, he has great value.

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December 23, 2015

Odell Beckham's one-game suspension upheld by the NFL

Letting his frustrations get the better of him on Sunday, New York Giants second-year receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was suspended for this week's matchup against the Minnesota Vikings.

Appealing the NFL's decision, Beckham met with James Thrash at league headquarters today.

That said, the appeal was unsuccessful and the suspension has been upheld by the NFL.

Beckham tweeted this out this afternoon as well:

Finishing with six catches for 76 yards and a touchdown against the Panthers, Beckham has now scored in five consecutive games and has racked up a stat line of 91/1,395/13 in 14 games this season. Through 26 career games, OBJ has 182 catches for 2,701 yards and 25 touchdowns.

With Beckham sitting in Week 16, it will open up opportunities for Rueben Randle and other receivers as well as tight end Will Tye (my favorite tight end pick up this week).

Since a 116-yard performance in Week 3, Randle's receiving yards has stayed within a relatively narrow band of 22 to 68 yards, but he has scored a touchdown in six of his past 12 games. Meanwhile, Tye has finished with 50-plus yards or a touchdown in five consecutive games.

Randle is currently the WR32 in my Week 16 fantasy football wide receiver rankings.

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Week 16 Fantasy Football: Running Backs Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Danny Woodhead is listed below as a "start" for Week 16. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 16 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Adrian Peterson, DeAngelo Williams and Woodhead and start only two running backs, you should start AP and Williams -- and in turn, bench Woodhead.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 16:

RB - Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders (vs. SD)

Heading into Championship Week for most fantasy leagues, Murray ranks 14th in fantasy points scored among running backs. Scoring more than 15.7 fantasy points only once this season, Murray has been consistent -- 7.5-plus fantasy points in 11 of 14 games.

Few running backs have received a larger and more consistent workload than Murray. Averaging 19.14 touches per game, Murray's 268 touches ranks fourth in the NFL. Not only does he have 22-plus touches in three of his past four games, but he has at least 16 touches in all but one game this season.

The fifth-leading rusher in the NFL (956 yards), Murray has not run the ball as well recently -- 3.02 yards per carry over his past five games compared to 4.71 YPC in his first nine. That said, he had success against the Chargers in his first matchup (15/85/1 rushing) and the Bolts currently allow the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.

RB - Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. CLE)

Since leaving the San Diego game (Week 11) early with an injury, West saw his largest workload last week with 18 touches against the Ravens. West finished the game with 76 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and added two catches for nine yards. Before Week 11, West had three consecutive games with 24-plus touches.

It's highly unlikely that West gets 24 or more touches this week, but if he gets the 18 he had last week, he should produce as a top-eight fantasy running back once again. The Browns have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

RB - David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (vs. GB)

Not only did Johnson finish as the highest-scoring fantasy running back in Week 15, but it was actually the only 40-point fantasy performance this season. Johnson carried the ball 29 times for 187 yards and three touchdowns and added four catches for 42 yards as well.

Since taking over as the team's lead back (by necessity), Johnson has exceeded 110 yards from scrimmage in three consecutive games. In addition, he has a minimum of 24 touches in each of those games. During that three-game span, Johnson has 378 rushing yards, 11 catches for 94 yards and four total touchdowns.

Even though he has only 135 touches on the season, Johnson has scored a total of 12 touchdowns -- seven rushing, four receiving and one return. Johnson is a top-three option this week whether Andre Ellington returns or not.

RB - Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers (at OAK)

While Johnson scored the most fantasy points last week, Woodhead scored the second-most (30.0). Last week's monster performance catapulted him into the top-12 fantasy running backs (standard scoring) through Week 15. There's no way that he repeats last week's four-TD performance, but he's a viable RB2 type this week against the Raiders. (Then again, he did score two TDs against the Raiders the first time around.)

Perhaps he gets a few more early-down carries with MG3 placed on IR, but his fantasy value is largely derived from his ability in the passing game and the trust he has from Philip Rivers in the red zone. Woodhead has the third-most receptions (64) among running backs and none have more receiving yards (651) than he has. In addition, only Devonta Freeman and Adrian Peterson have more PPR fantasy points than Woodhead this season.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 16:

RB - C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (vs. CIN)

What a disappointing season it has been for Anderson! Drafted as a mid-to-late first-rounder, Anderson has had a couple of big games this season, but he has struggled to string together multiple productive outings. Over his past five games played, CJA has scored 0.9, 7.2, 27.3, 5.4 and 2.0 fantasy points, respectively.

I am actually in a league where I drafted CJA with the last pick in Round 1 and I'm in the league's Championship Game. That said, I've managed to pick up guys like West, Thomas Rawls (before IR) and others to pick up his slack along the way. Given Anderson's lack of consistency this season, there's no way that I could trust him in a less-than-favorable matchup.

RB - DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. WAS)

Speaking of disappointments, what string is Murray currently on Philadelphia's depth chart? While he still officially tops the list (I just checked), he had only two carries for three yards last week against the Cardinals. Murray now has 34 rushing yards or less in four consecutive games. During that four-game span, he has a total of 35 carries for 91 yards (2.60 YPC).

RB - Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots (at NYJ)

With Steven Jackson back in the league, Montee Ball activated from the practice squad and Joey Iosefa (yes, Joey Iosefa) getting 14 carries -- four more than Bolden -- last week, it's anyone's guess how the workload will get allocated. In fact, LeGarrette Blount had just three carries for MINUS three yards in Week 7 against the Jets. This week's game plan should be pass-heavy so I wouldn't trust any Patriots running back not named James White.

RB - C.J. Spiller, New Orleans Saints (vs. JAX)

I get that you wouldn't even consider starting Spiller as bad and fantasy-irrelevant as he's been. A spike in Spiller's offensive involvement at least seemed reasonable following Mark Ingram's injury. Silly me.

With both Ingram and Khiry Robinson landing on IR, Tim Hightower has dominated touches over Spiller -- 45 to 10 in the past two games combined. As another comparison, Hightower had 8.5 fantasy points last week alone; Spiller has a total of 7.7 fantasy points in his past six games combined. Ugh!

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Week 16 Fantasy Football: Quarterbacks Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Kirk Cousins is listed below as a "start" for Week 16. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 16 with him as my starting quarterback.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Ben Roethlisberger and Cousins, you should start Big Ben -- and in turn, bench Cousins.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 16:

QB - Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (at NO)

One of the biggest surprises in fantasy football this season, Bortles enters Championship Week with the fifth-most fantasy points among quarterbacks -- just ahead of Aaron Rodgers (QB6). Even better, Bortles has been a consistent producer; in other words, his unexpected production isn't due to only a few big games.

Since Week 2, Bortles has finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in nine weeks. Over the past four weeks, he's finished as a top-eight performer with a minimum of 22 fantasy points in each of those games. During that four-game span, Bortles has averaged a tad shy of 300 passing yards (299.5/G) and he's thrown 11 touchdowns to only two interceptions. In addition, he has 93 rushing yards and two more scores over that stretch.

The good times should continue to roll for Bortles and the Jags passing offense. No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than the Saints. The Saints have allowed a top-three weekly finish in six of their 14 games this season and Bortles is my third-ranked quarterback for the week behind only Big Ben and Cam Newton.

QB - Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (at PHI)

As I tweeted earlier this week, Cam Newton (four times), Russell Wilson (twice) and Cousins (twice) have finished as the top-scoring fantasy quarterback in eight of the past nine weeks. (Saints QB Drew Brees was the exception in Week 8.)

Someone else may finish as this week's top-scoring quarterback, after all I have Big Ben in the top spot of my rankings, but Cousins at least has QB1 upside given this week's matchup against the Eagles. Only the Saints and Giants have allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and the Eagles have surrendered 21 touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in their past seven games.

Including his two QB1 performances, Cousins has five top-10 outings in his past eight games. During that eight-game span, he has averaged slightly more than 275 passing yards per game with 20 touchdowns (16 passing and four rushing) and only three interceptions.

QB - Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (vs. NE)

Before last week's relatively disappointing (fantasy) performance, Fitzpatrick had finished as the weekly QB3, QB8 and QB4, respectively, in his previous three games. Going into the final week of the fantasy season, Fitzpatrick has scored the 10th-most fantasy points among quarterbacks.

In the games that Fitzpatrick did not leave early due to injury, he has accounted for multiple touchdowns in 11 of 13 games. One of those multi-TD games was his Week 7 matchup against the Patriots when he scored 20.7 fantasy points and finished as fantasy's QB8.

QB - Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (vs. SF)

In the first five games of the season, Stafford finished outside the top-15 fantasy quarterbacks in every game. Since then, however, Stafford has finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in five of nine games and has averaged 20.9 fantasy points per game over that stretch.

With multiple touchdowns in four consecutive games, Stafford has compiled an impressive 12:1 TD-to-INT ratio during that span. The 49ers have been middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks and have allowed only two passing scores in their past four games, but Stafford is still a back-end QB1 for Week 16.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 16:

QB - Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (vs. CAR)

We only have to look back two weeks for a glimpse of how Week 16 may play out for Ryan. In his first matchup against the Panthers (Week 14), Ryan threw for 224 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. In addition, he lost a fumble and finished with 4.86 fantasy points, 29th-most among Week 14 quarterbacks.

Allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, Eli Manning's QB9 performance last week was only the second time the Panthers have allowed a top-12 outing this season. The other time was to Aaron Rodgers in Week 9.

QB - Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (vs. SD)

Carr has thrown multiple touchdowns in four consecutive games and isn't necessarily a bad option for Week 16. That said, he has finished outside of the top-12 fantasy quarterbacks in three consecutive games and he's just outside my top-12 quarterbacks for this week as well. The other factor that could limit his production is the favorable matchup that Latavius Murray has against San Diego's rush defense, but Carr had a strong performance in his first matchup against the Chargers this season.

QB - Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (vs. IND)

Tannehill has thrown for 236 yards or less, in some cases much less, and a total of two passing touchdowns over the past three weeks. To make matters worse, two of those games were elite matchups against the Ravens and Giants, both of whom rank among the seven friendliest defenses to fantasy quarterbacks. Indianapolis hasn't been much better than Baltimore or New York, but can you trust that Tannehill will exploit the matchup?

QB - Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. WAS)

Since Week 6, Bradford has failed to finish as a top-15 quarterback in any of his games. The good news is that he threw for 361 yards and two touchdowns against the Cardinals last week, but he turned the ball over three times as well. More good news is that facing Washington is obviously a more favorable proposition than facing Arizona's defense. That said, now isn't the time to start trusting Bradford or the Eagles offense.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 16

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Poll: Will Bilal Powell finish as a top-24 fantasy running back in Week 16?

Scoring in three consecutive games, New York Jets running back Bilal Powell has scored a minimum of 13.9 fantasy points (standard scoring) in each of those games with an average of 14.97 per contest.

Even though he has six or fewer carries in each of those three games, Powell has finished as a top-12 fantasy running back in all three of those games.

With 20 catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns on 25 targets over that three-game stretch, Powell has been even better (21.63/G, same span) in PPR formats. Powell has been the RB3, RB7 and RB6 in PPR formats over the past three weeks, respectively.

[More polls: How many yards will DGB have in Week 16?]

Going into Week 16, both Powell (RB19) and Chris Ivory (RB13) are ranked inside my top-20 fantasy running backs for the week.

Will Powell finish as a top-24 fantasy running back in Week 16? Or even top-12?

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2015 Fantasy Football: Week 16 Fantasy Tight End Rankings

Not only did he do it in back-to-back games, but it was the third time he did so over the past nine weeks.

Who? What? Washington's Jordan Reed finished as fantasy's TE1 this past week for a second consecutive week.

In his past two games combined, Reed has 16 catches for 204 yards and three touchdowns and has finished with at least 18 fantasy points in each game.

While Reed missed a couple of games early in the season and durability has been the biggest issue with Reed over his young career, there is no denying the talent.

On the season, Reed is averaging 6.17 catches, 64.83 yards and 0.75 touchdowns on 8.25 targets per game.

This week, Reed will face the Eagles, who have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, but he's still my top-ranked tight end not named Gronk.

Here are some more fantasy football notes on tight ends:

  • Speaking of Rob Gronkowski, he has scored in back-to-back games since returning from his knee injury. And he's scored in three straight going back to Week 12. On the year, he has 11 touchdowns in 13 games and has finished as a top-six weekly fantasy tight end in all but three games this season. In his first matchup this season against the Jets, Gronk had 11/108/1 on 16 targets.

  • Saints tight end Benjamin Watson has double-digit targets in back-to-back games and he has now finished as a top-12 weekly tight end in three consecutive weeks. On the season, Watson has 67 catches for 761 yards and five touchdowns and the eighth-most fantasy points among tight ends. Watson gets a great matchup this week as the Jags have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to the position this season.

  • In turn, Jacksonville's Julius Thomas has the best matchup of the week as no team has allowed more fantasy points to the position than the Saints. Over his past five games, Thomas has scored a minimum of 7.5 fantasy points every week and has a total of 27 catches for 292 yards and four touchdowns over that stretch.

  • Only Gronk has scored more fantasy points than Cleveland's Gary Barnidge this season. Targeted only four times in Week 15, Barnidge had three catches for 29 yards but he scored for a second consecutive week. Since Week 3, Barnidge has scored a minimum of 8.9 fantasy points and finished as a top-12 fantasy tight end in all but two games. Unfortunately, Barnidge has a tough matchup this week as only the Eagles have allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing tight ends than the Chiefs.

  • At one point, it made sense to start tight ends, any tight end, against the Raiders. They have been better at defending tight ends lately, but they have still allowed the second-most fantasy points to the position this season. San Diego's Antonio Gates faces them on Christmas Eve this year. While Gates did not play, teammate Ladarius Green scored two touchdowns against them in Week 7. Gates hasn't scored since Week 12, but he has exactly six catches in three consecutive weeks. It wouldn't surprise me if Philip Rivers and Gates connected for a touchdown, or two, this week.

  • Giants tight end Will Tye has finished as a top-10 weekly tight end in three consecutive games and he could extend that streak if the league upholds the one-game suspension of Odell Beckham. (OBJ will have his appeal heard on Wednesday morning.) That said, Tye has five-plus catches in four of five games and he has either 50-plus yards or a score in all five consecutive games.

Below you find my Week 16 Fantasy Football TE Rankings:

1. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots (at NYJ)
2. Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins (at PHI)
3. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers (at ATL)
4. Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars (at NO)
5. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers (at OAK)
6. Benjamin Watson, New Orleans Saints (vs. JAX)
7. Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans (vs. HOU)
8. Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns (at KC)
9. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. CLE)
10. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals (at DEN)
11. Will Tye, New York Giants (at MIN)
12. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings (vs. NYG)
13. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. WAS)
14. Zach Miller, Chicago Bears (at TB)
15. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys (at BUF)
16. Richard Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (at ARI)
17. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. CHI)
18. Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL)
19. Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions (vs. SF)
20. Jacob Tamme, Atlanta Falcons (vs. CAR)

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2015 Fantasy Football: Week 16 Fantasy Wide Receiver Rankings

Over their past six games, the Pittsburgh Steelers have scored at least 30 points in each game, which is tied for the sixth-longest streak in NFL history.

A huge part of that offensive success, Antonio Brown has been as dominant as ever.

In the middle of the season, Brown was slowed by Ben Roethlisberger's absence. But there is no better duo when both are healthy.

Averaging 14.67 targets per game, Brown has four 100-yard games over that period with a total of 64 catches for 868 yards and six touchdowns plus 22 rushing yards and a return score.

With at least 27.9 fantasy points (standard scoring) in four of those six games, Brown has finished as either the weekly WR1 (three times) or WR2 (once) four times.

Big Ben was sidelined in the first matchup against the Ravens and Brown had one of his worst games (5/45) of the season. That said, no team has allowed more fantasy points this season than the Ravens.

With Brown's volume and talent, Big Ben's health and the exceptional matchup, is it unreasonable to project 300 yards and four touchdowns for Brown this week?

Maybe so, but he's the clear-cut No. 1 fantasy wide receiver heading into the finale.

Sammy: TDs in 4 straight games with 100+ yards in 3 of 4G

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins continued his hot streak in Sunday's loss with five catches for 111 yards and two scores.

Watkins has now scored in four consecutive games and exceeded 100 yards in three of those games. During that span, he has 19 catches for 459 yards and six touchdowns.

Buffalo's run-first offense has led to Watkins voicing his frustrations earlier in the season, but he's seeing more consistent volume lately. Averaging 24.16 yards per reception, Watkins has at least 10 targets in three of his past four games.

In 11 games this season, Watkins has a total of 44 catches for 827 yards and nine touchdowns. As a rookie last season, Watkins had 65 catches for 982 yards and six scores.

Week 16's matchup isn't great as the Cowboys have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers, but Watkins is still a top-10 fantasy receiver for Week 16.

Ginn: 80+ yards, 2 TDs in 3 straight

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. was targeted 14 times on Sunday and turned those targets into six catches for 80 yards and two touchdowns.

It was the third consecutive game in which Ginn finished with 80-plus yards and scored two touchdowns. In addition, it was Ginn's fourth multi-touchdown game this season.

During that three-game span, Ginn has 13 catches for 285 yards and six touchdowns.

Not only has he scored 20-plus fantasy points in all three of those games, but Ginn has finished as fantasy's WR5, WR3 and WR7 over the past three weeks, respectively.

On the year, Ginn has 43 catches for 730 yards and 10 touchdowns. From 2007 to 2014, Ginn had a total of 11 receiving touchdowns. He also has four rush attempts for 60 yards as well.

In Week 16, Ginn and the Panthers will take on the Falcons for the second time in three weeks. Targeted only three times against the Falcons in Week 14, Ginn had two catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns.

Perhaps I'm way too low on Ginn as productive as he's been, but he's just inside my top-30 fantasy receivers this week.

Below you find my Week 16 Fantasy Football WR Rankings:

1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL)
2. Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (at NO)
3. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans (at TEN)
4. Brandon Marshall, New York Jets (vs. NE)
5. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. CHI)
6. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (vs. CAR)
7. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears (at TB)
8. Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL)
9. Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks (vs. STL)
10. Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills (vs. DAL)
11. Eric Decker, New York Jets (vs. NE)
12. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (vs. CIN)
13. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions (vs. SF)
14. Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. CLE)
15. Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints (vs. JAX)
16. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (at DEN)
17. DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins (at PHI)
18. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals (vs. GB)
19. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos (vs. CIN)
20. Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders (vs. SD)
21. Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (vs. SF)
22. Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars (at NO)
23. Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins (vs. IND)
24. Kamar Aiken, Baltimore Ravens (vs. PIT)
25. John Brown, Arizona Cardinals (vs. GB)
26. Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders (vs. SD)
27. Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals (vs. GB)
28. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (at ARI)
29. Ted Ginn, Carolina Panthers (at ATL)
30. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys (at BUF)
31. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (at MIA)
32. Rueben Randle, New York Giants (at MIN)
33. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (vs. STL)
34. Willie Snead, New Orleans Saints (vs. JAX)
35. Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. WAS)
36. Dorial Green-Beckham, Tennessee Titans (vs. HOU)
37. Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL)
38. Danny Amendola, New England Patriots (at NYJ)
39. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings (vs. NYG)
40. DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins (vs. IND)
41. Travis Benjamin, Cleveland Browns (at KC)
42. Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers (at DET)
43. Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams (at SEA)
44. Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts (at MIA)
45. Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals (at DEN)
46. Brandon LaFell, New England Patriots (at NYJ)
47. Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins (at PHI)
48. Dontrelle Inman, San Diego Chargers (at OAK)
49. James Jones, Green Bay Packers (at ARI)
50. Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers (at ATL)

* Note: Odell Beckham Jr. is suspended for one game, but he has his appeal hearing on Wednesday.

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December 22, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football: Week 16 Fantasy Running Back Rankings

Not only was it the best performance of the week, but it was also the best performance of the season for any running back.

On Sunday Night Football, Arizona Cardinals rookie running back David Johnson carried the ball 29 times for 187 yards and three touchdowns and added four catches for 42 yards as well.

Since taking over as the team's lead back (by necessity), Johnson has exceeded 110 yards from scrimmage in three consecutive games. In addition, he has a minimum of 24 touches in each of those games.

During that three-game span, Johnson has 378 rushing yards, 11 catches for 94 yards and four total touchdowns. In each of those games, he has a minimum of 12.3 fantasy points (standard scoring).

Despite his workhorse status over the past three weeks, Johnson still has just 135 touches on the season. (He had only only 54 touches through Week 12.) That said, he has scored a total of 12 touchdowns -- seven rushing, four receiving and one return -- this season.

It's unclear whether Andre Ellington will return in Week 16, but either way, Johnson has seized the lead-back role for good even if Bruce Arians has been reluctant to prominently feature rookies.

Hosting the Packers on Sunday, the Cardinals can clinch a first-round bye with a win. The Packers have allowed the 11th-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season and they have allowed only one 100-yard rusher (Darren McFadden) since Week 9.

With that said, Johnson is a top-three fantasy option in Championship Week.

Here are some more fantasy football notes on running backs:

  • On Christmas Eve, the Raiders will host the Chargers giving Latavius Murray fantasy owners an early present. So far this season, the Chargers have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs. In his first matchup against San Diego, Murray rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Murray has 20-plus carries in three of his past four games a total of 85 touches during that four-game span. Given his usage and the matchup, Murray is a top-eight option for me and he has top-three upside in Week 16.

  • With a huge four-touchdown performance on Sunday, San Diego's Danny Woodhead moved into the top-12 fantasy running backs this season. In fact, he's now the RB3 in PPR formats. While he's unlikely to score 30 fantasy points again this week, the team placed disappointing rookie Melvin Gordon on season-ending injured reserve. At a minimum, Woodhead is a viable start in standard-scoring formats and a must-start in PPR leagues this week.

  • Over the past five weeks, it's been a roller coaster ride for Eddie Lacy fantasy owners. In three of those five games, Lacy has rushed for 100-plus yards. In the other two, he has scored 0.1 and 2.3 fantasy points, respectively. Given the variance in his production and the tough matchup (Arizona has allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs), the range of possible outcomes for Lacy is very wide this week.

  • Indianapolis Colts running back Frank Gore has a minimum of 16 touches in seven consecutive games and an average of 20.57 per game over that stretch. In addition, no running back has a more favorable matchup as the Dolphins have allowed the most fantasy points to the position this season. That said, Gore has finished as the weekly RB35 (or worse) in four of his past five games.

  • St. Louis rookie running back Todd Gurley has undeniable talent and Gurley currently ranks third in the NFL in rushing (1,023 yards) behind Adrian Peterson (1,314) and Doug Martin (1,305). While the 10th overall pick has five 100-yard rushing games this season, he also has less than 50 rushing yards in four of his past six games. To make matters worse, he faces the Seahawks this week and no team has allowed fewer fantasy points this season.

  • Saints running back Tim Hightower had another productive outing in his new starter role. With 16 touches against the Lions, Hightower gained 85 yards from scrimmage and finished as fantasy's RB24 in Week 15. In his past two games, he has a total of 45 touches and 180 YFS and a touchdown. The Jaguars have been middle of the road in terms of fantasy points allowed to backs, but they have allowed only two running backs to gain more than 60 rushing yards since Week 6: LeSean McCoy (68, Week 7) and Antonio Andrews (78, Week 11).

  • With McCoy (MCL) likely out for the rest of the season, the team will turn to Karlos Williams and Mike Gillislee to handle the workload against the Cowboys in Week 16. Williams has averaged 6.0 yards per carry on limited carries (70) this season, but he has scored a total of seven touchdowns. Meanwhile, Gillislee has scored in back-to-back games and has 146 yards on his 14 carries in three games with Buffalo. The Cowboys have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.

Below you find my Week 16 Fantasy Football RB Rankings:

1. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (vs. NYG)
2. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (vs. GB)
3. DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL)
4. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. CHI)
5. Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. CLE)
6. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons (vs. CAR)
7. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears (at TB)
8. Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders (vs. SD)
9. Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams (at SEA)
10. Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins (vs. IND)
11. Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys (at BUF)
12. Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts (at MIA)
13. Chris Ivory, New York Jets (vs. NE)
14. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers (at ARI)
15. Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers (at OAK)
16. Tim Hightower, New Orleans Saints (vs. JAX)
17. Karlos Williams, Buffalo Bills (vs. DAL)
18. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (at DEN)
19. Bilal Powell, New York Jets (vs. NE)
20. Denard Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (at NO)
21. James White, New England Patriots (at NYJ)
22. Ryan Mathews, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. WAS)
23. Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks (vs. STL)
24. Javorius Allen, Baltimore Ravens (vs. PIT)
25. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (at DEN)
26. Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (at MIN)
27. Matt Jones, Washington Redskins (at PHI)
28. Cameron Artis-Payne, Carolina Panthers (at ATL)
29. Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions (vs. SF)
30. Shaun Draughn, San Francisco 49ers (at DET)
31. Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos (vs. CIN)
32. James Starks, Green Bay Packers (at ARI)
33. Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears (at TB)
34. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (at PHI)
35. C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (vs. CIN)
36. Mike Gillislee, Buffalo Bills (vs. DAL)
37. Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. CHI)
38. Donald Brown, San Diego Chargers (at OAK)
39. Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. WAS)
40. Alfred Blue, Houston Texans (at TEN)
41. Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions (vs. SF)
42. Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins (vs. IND)
43. Bryce Brown, Seattle Seahawks (vs. STL)
44. Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns (at KC)
45. DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. WAS)
46. Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. CLE)
47. Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots (at NYJ)
48. Joique Bell, Detroit Lions (vs. SF)
49. Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (at KC)
50. Shane Vereen, New York Giants (at MIN)

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2015 Fantasy Football: Week 16 Fantasy Quarterback Rankings

Before the season began, it would have been impossible to imagine the Steelers being favored by more than 10 points over the Ravens, on the road, in Week 16.

Not only have the Ravens suffered an inordinate amount of injuries, but the Steelers offense is firing on all cylinders with six consecutive 30-point outings and they get a matchup against an exploitable Ravens secondary.

Against the league's stingiest pass defense, Ben Roethlisberger threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday afternoon. In fact, it was the first 300-yard game allowed by the Broncos this season.

Over his past six games, Big Ben has averaged 365.83 passing yards per game with 13 pass touchdowns. During that six-game span, Roethlisberger has scored at least 21 fantasy points in five games.

Heading into Championship Week, the Ravens have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

No QB has more fantasy points through Week 15 than Cam

Sunday's game turned out to be closer than expected after the Panthers nearly squandered a 35-7 lead, but Cam Newton finished as the week's top-scoring fantasy quarterback in Week 15.

It was Newton's fourth overall QB1 outing in his past seven games. During that seven-game span, he has actually finished as a top-six option in all but one game.

Completing 25-of-45 pass attempts, Newton threw for a season-high 340 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions and rushed eight times for a season-high 100 yards.

It was the third time in five games that Newton has thrown five touchdown passes in a game.

On the season, Newton has thrown for 3,402 yards, 33 touchdowns with 10 interceptions and rushed 119 times for 580 yards and seven touchdowns. That marks his record-breaking (of his own record) fifth consecutive season with at least 3,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards.

The list of quarterbacks that have scored more fantasy points than Newton this season include, well, nobody. The top three heading into Week 16 are Newton (342.08), Tom Brady (327.3) and Russell Wilson (295.72).

Newton and the Panthers will face the Falcons for a second time in three weeks. Against Atlanta in Week 14, Newton threw for 265 yards and three touchdowns.

Cousins: Top-10 Week 16 QB, Owned in ~25% of Leagues

Washington's Kirk Cousins and the team, in general, have played well at home and he threw for 319 yards, four touchdowns and ran in another score in Sunday's win over the Bills.

In Week 15, only Newton (41.6) scored more fantasy points than Cousins (35.86).

Over his past eight games, Cousins has averaged 21.15 fantasy points per game with three top-two outings and five top-10 performances. During that eight-game span, he has averaged slightly more than 275 passing yards per game with 20 touchdowns (16 passing and four rushing) and only three interceptions.

While Cousins plays better at home, he gets an ideal matchup in Week 16, even if it's on the road.

Through Week 15, only the Saints and Giants have allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than the Eagles. In their past seven games combined, the Eagles have allowed 21 total touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks.

Available in roughly three-quarters of Yahoo! leagues, Cousins was the top recommended add in my Week 16 fantasy football waiver-wire post.

Below you find my Week 16 Fantasy Football QB Rankings:

1. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BAL)
2. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (at ATL)
3. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (at NO)
4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (vs. JAX)
5. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (vs. GB)
6. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (at NYJ)
7. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (vs. STL)
8. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (at PHI)
9. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (at ARI)
10. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (vs. SF)
11. Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (vs. NE)
12. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (at OAK)
13. Eli Manning, New York Giants (at MIN)
14. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (vs. DAL)
15. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (vs. SD)
16. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings (vs. NYG)
17. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. CLE)
18. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. CHI)
19. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears (at TB)
20. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (vs. IND)
21. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (vs. CAR)
22. Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. WAS)
23. Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns (at KC)
24. Brock Osweiler, Denver Broncos (vs. CIN)
25. Blaine Gabbert, San Francisco 49ers (at DET)

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2015 NFL Power Rankings: Week 16

Here are our Week 16 NFL Power Rankings:

1. Carolina Panthers (Record: 14-0; Last: 1)Despite the more exciting ending than expected on Sunday, the Panthers improved to 14-0 and have now won 18 consecutive regular-season games. Meanwhile, Cam Newton threw for 340 yards, five touchdowns and rushed for 100 yards to exceed 3,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards for an NFL-best fifth consecutive season.

2. Arizona Cardinals (Record: 12-2; Last: 2)With a convincing win over the Eagles on Sunday Night Football, the Cardinals set a franchise record with their 12th regular-season win.
3. New England Patriots (Record: 12-2; Last: 3)Picking up another sack on Sunday, Chandler Jones tied his career high with 11.5 on the season. The only Patriots with more in franchise history are Andre Tippett (three separate times) and Mike Vrabel (12.5).

4. Seattle Seahawks (Record: 9-5; Last: 4)Once again, Doug Baldwin hauled in multiple touchdown receptions. Over his past four games, Baldwin now has 10 touchdowns.

5. Cincinnati Bengals (Record: 11-3; Last: 5)In his first start, A.J. McCarron was efficient (15-of-21 for 192 yards and a touchdown) with Andy Dalton sidelined. Ultimately, their Week 16 showdown with the Broncos could determine whether or not they earn a first-round bye in the playoffs.

6. Kansas City Chiefs (Record: 9-5; Last: 7)With a 20-point victory over the Ravens, the Chiefs won their eighth consecutive regular-season game. Six of those eight wins have been by double digits.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (Record: 9-5; Last: 9)The Steelers have scored 30-plus points in six consecutive games, which is tied for the fifth-longest streak in the NFL since 1970. Pittsburgh is 5-1 during that span and they overcame a 17-point deficit. In those six games, Ben Roethlisberger is averaging 365.8 passing yards per game and Antonio Brown has an insane stat line of 64/868/6.

8. Denver Broncos (Record: 10-4; Last: 6)Peyton Manning called a report that he wouldn't accept being a backup, when healthy, as "insulting," but the Broncos have lost four of their past seven games as they play for a first-round bye on Monday Night Football. Meanwhile, Kubiak said that the team is "starting from scratch" this week in regards to its quarterback situation.

9. Green Bay Packers (Record: 10-4; Last: 8)In his past five games, Aaron Rodgers has thrown for 273 yards or less in every game and he's failed to even reach 220 yards in four of the five. It's the first time in Rodgers tenure as a starter that he has thrown for 275 yards or less in more than four consecutive games. The Packers have an outside shot a first-round bye and coincidentally they face the team currently in the No. 2 spot this week.

10. New York Jets (Record: 9-5; Last: 10)Tied with Joe Namath, Mark Sanchez and Al Dorow, Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown the second-most single-season touchdowns (26) in franchise history. The franchise record is within reach (Vinny Testaverde, 29 in 1998). More than likely, Fitz will have a chance to work his "magic" for the Jets in 2016.

Here are the best of the rest:

11. Minnesota Vikings (Record: 9-5; Last: 11)
12. Washington Redskins (Record: 7-7; Last: 15)
13. Houston Texans (Record: 7-7; Last: 20)
14. Buffalo Bills (Record: 6-8; Last: 12)
15. New York Giants (Record: 6-8; Last: 14)
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Record: 6-8; Last: 16)
17. Indianapolis Colts (Record: 6-8; Last: 13)
18. Oakland Raiders (Record: 6-8; Last: 18)
19. Detroit Lions (Record: 5-9; Last: 19)
20. Atlanta Falcons (Record: 7-7; Last: 17)
21. Philadelphia Eagles (Record: 6-8; Last: 22)
22. St. Louis Rams (Record: 6-8; Last: 21)
23. Jacksonville Jaguars (Record: 5-9; Last: 24)
24. Chicago Bears (Record: 5-9; Last: 23)
25. New Orleans Saints (Record: 5-9; Last: 26)
26. San Francisco 49ers (Record: 4-10; Last: 28)
27. San Diego Chargers (Record: 4-10; Last: 30)
28. Miami Dolphins (Record: 5-9; Last: 25)
29. Dallas Cowboys (Record: 4-10; Last: 27)
30. Baltimore Ravens (Record: 4-10; Last: 29)
31. Cleveland Browns (Record: 3-11; Last: 32)
32. Tennessee Titans (Record: 3-11; Last: 31)

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Poll: How many yards will Dorial Green-Beckham have in Week 16?

Once the most-coveted high school recruit, Tennessee Titans rookie wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham has plenty of talent and size (6-5, 235), but there was some expected rust after being required to sit all of 2014 due to NCAA transfer rules.

Starting slowly, Green-Beckham had 40 or fewer yards in all but two of his first 11 games this season. That said, DGB has become much more involved and productive down the stretch and is the top-ranked receiver in Week 16 waiver-wire recommendations.

Against the Patriots on Sunday, Green-Beckham finished with six catches for 113 yards on nine targets and he now has a pair of 100-yard games in the past three weeks. Over that three-game span, DGB has 14 catches for 285 yards (20.4 Y/A) and a touchdown.

(He had 16/243/2 in his first 11 games combined.)

It's been a slow year in general for rookie wide receivers. Through this week's games, Green-Beckham ranks 56th in fantasy football points scored.

The rookie wide receivers that rank ahead of DGB: Amari Cooper (16th), Tyler Lockett (36th) and Stefon Diggs (41st).

The Texans have limited opposing wide receivers to the seventh-fewest fantasy points through Week 15. And since Week 5, the Texans have allowed only one 100-yard receiver (Sammy Watkins in Week 13).

How many yards will Green-Beckham have in Week 16?

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Drew Brees (foot) in walking boot, to have MRI on Tuesday

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed 34-of-52 for 341 yards and three touchdowns on Monday Night Football, but the team lost to the Detroit Lions and Brees was in a walking boot after the game.

Brees hurt his foot in the second quarter and stayed in the game, but he'll have an MRI on Tuesday.

"I just had to keep it moving," Brees said. "I don't know exactly what we got going here, but we'll see after an MRI tomorrow."

In the game, Brees surpassed the 60,000 passing yards milestone, becoming only the fourth player in NFL history to do so. With 60,168 career yards, Brees trails only Peyton Manning (71,871), Brett Favre (71,838) and Dan Marino (61,361).

Other active quarterbacks in the top-20 of all-time passing leaders are Tom Brady (57,663, fifth), Eli Manning (43,655, 11th), Ben Roethlisberger (42,426, 13th), Philip Rivers (40,942, 14th) and Carson Palmer (39,642, 18th).

Brees and the Saints have an ideal matchup heading into Week 16.

Through Week 15, the Jaguars have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

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December 21, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football: QB Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 16

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short- and/or long-term.

With most leagues hosting their championship in Week 16, the players on this list really comes down to those that can help you the most this week.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire.

With that said, here are some waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 16 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

QB - Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (23 percent)

It was another strong performance at home for Cousins this week. In Sunday's win over the Bills, he threw for 319 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another score as he finished north of 35 fantasy points. Over his past eight games, Cousins has averaged 21.15 fantasy points per game.

With Matthew Stafford and Drew Brees yet to take the field this week, only Cam Newton has scored more fantasy points than Cousins in Week 15. If he hangs on to his QB2 finish, it will be his third top-two finish (and fifth top-10 finish) during that eight-game span. Over that stretch, Cousins has averaged slightly more than 275 passing yards per game with 20 touchdowns (16 passing and four rushing) and only three interceptions.

Going into Monday Night Football, only the Saints and Giants have allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than the Eagles. In their past seven games combined, the Eagles have allowed 21 total touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks.

QB - Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings (37 percent)

In eight of 14 games this season, Bridgewater has thrown for less than 200 yards and/or zero touchdowns. That means that he has also finished as fantasy's weekly QB20 (or worse) in nine games this season.

Not only is he coming off his best fantasy performance, but he gets an ideal matchup in Week 16. Throwing for four touchdowns and added a rushing score, Bridgewater scored 32.94 fantasy points in Week 15.

Given that he threw a total of four touchdowns in his previous seven games combined, it's unlikely that he repeats that kind of success in Championship Week. That said, only the Saints have allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than the Giants this season.

QB - Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (43 percent)

Winston threw for 363 yards and two touchdowns in a difficult matchup against the Rams on Thursday Night Football, but he gets a more favorable matchup against the Bears in Week 16. The Bears have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Meanwhile, Winston has been fairly consistent for a rookie quarterback as he has scored a minimum of 12 fantasy points in all 14 games this season.

QB - Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (37 percent)

Like many of the quarterbacks on this week's list, Smith has a great matchup in Week 16. The Browns have allowed an average of 19.61 fantasy points per game, which ranks fourth in the NFL heading into Monday Night Football.

That said, Smith has thrown for 191 yards or less in three consecutive games and he failed to take advantage of a strong Week 15 matchup against the Ravens. On a positive note, his rushing stats (383 yards) helps raise his fantasy floor and his team keeps winning (eight consecutive wins), but he's unlikely to post the gaudy numbers that someone like Cousins might.

QB - Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears (41 percent)

Cutler has finished outside the top-20 weekly fantasy quarterbacks in four of five games, but he has thrown multiple touchdowns in back-to-back games after throwing just one during a three-game span. Inconsistent by nature, Cutler may take advantage of a fair matchup, but Cutler will be more a mid-tier QB2 this week for me.

- More Fantasy Football Waiver-Wire Advice Heading Into Week 16

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2015 Fantasy Football: RB Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 16

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short- and/or long-term.

With most leagues hosting their championship in Week 16, the players on this list really comes down to those that can help you the most this week.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire.

With that said, here are some waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 16 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

RB - Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks (nine percent)

With Marshawn Lynch still out and Thomas Rawls out for the season, it was Michael, who re-signed with the team this past week, that led Seattle's rushing attack. Michael 2.0, if you will, carried the ball 16 times for 84 yards (5.3 yards per carry). With three teams (Seattle to Dallas to Washington and back to Seattle), Michael had just 12 carries before this week.

Getting nearly double the carries of Bryce Brown (nine), Michael should once again lead the team's backfield in touches in Week 16. And since Week 9, it's been easier to run on the Rams. St. Louis allowed 3.73 YPC from Weeks 1 to 8 (sixth-fewest in NFL), but they have allowed 4.51 YPC from Weeks 9 to 15 (seventh-most).

RB - Bilal Powell, New York Jets (21 percent)

Scoring in three consecutive games, Powell has scored a minimum of 13.9 fantasy points (standard scoring) in each of those games with an average of 14.97 per contest. With 20 catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns on 25 targets over that three-game stretch, Powell has been even better (21.63/G, same span) in PPR formats.

As it currently stands, Powell has been the RB3, RB7 and RB6 (with one game to go tonight) in PPR formats over the past three weeks, respectively. It's unreasonable to expect another week of top-seven fantasy production, but Powell is at least worth a start in PPR formats in Week 16 against the Patriots.

RB - Karlos Williams, Buffalo Bills (31 percent)

After sitting out two games, Williams carried the ball four times for 41 yards on Sunday. In nine games this season, Williams is averaging 6.0 yards per carry and he has scored a total of seven touchdowns on 76 touches this year.

With a torn MCL, LeSean McCoy is "week to week" and likely done for the season with the Bills eliminated from playoff contention. Backfield mate Mike Gillislee has been productive in his three games with Buffalo, but it's unclear who's the favorite for the larger share of the workload between the two backs.

At this point, I'd lean Williams over Gillislee if I had to pick up one of the two backs. Hopefully we will get more clarity about their Week 16 workloads as the week progresses as the Cowboys have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs through Sunday.

RB - Mike Gillislee, Buffalo Bills (one percent)

With four carries on Sunday, Gillislee rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown against Washington. Through three games with the Bills, Gillislee has 14 carries for 146 yards and touchdowns in back-to-back games. As noted above, the injury to McCoy will open up more opportunities for Gillislee and both backs should at least be flex possibilities in Week 16.

RB - Cameron Artis-Payne, Carolina Panthers (six percent)

With Jonathan Stewart sidelined in Week 15, Artis-Payne carried the ball 14 times for 59 yards and added two catches for 34 yards as well. If The Daily Show is sidelined for another week, CAP should get in the neighborhood of 15 touches once again and he gets a favorable matchup against the Falcons. Only three teams have allowed more fantasy points to opposing running backs so far this season.

RB - Matt Jones, Washington Redskins (47 percent)

Jones had just 28 rushing yards on his 10 carries on Sunday after getting 39 touches in his previous two games combined. While his volume of work has fluctuated throughout the season, Jones has averaged 12.54 touches per game in his rookie season and he gets a favorable matchup in Week 16.

The Eagles have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to the position through Sunday's games. Since Week 7, the Eagles have allowed four 100-yard rushers and another running back to exceed 100 yards receiving. During that eight-game span, they have allowed 11 running backs to score double-digit fantasy points in standard-scoring formats.

RB - Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions (30 percent)

There is still one game to go this week and Riddick plays in that game, but Riddick is an absolute must-own in PPR formats. With seven catches for 44 yards last week, Riddick now has 67 receptions for 578 yards and three touchdowns. Only Devonta Freeman (68) has more receptions than Riddick and only Danny Woodhead (651) has more receiving yards.

Riddick has finished as a top-38 fantasy running back in PPR formats in every game this season and he has finished as a top-24 option in seven of 13 games. Through Sunday's games, Riddick ranks 21st in PPR fantasy points (42nd in standard-scoring formats).

RB - Shane Vereen, New York Giants (45 percent)

Although Rashad Jennings has rushed for more than 80 yards in back-to-back games, Vereen finished with 72 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown on 12 touches on Sunday. With Odell Beckham Jr. suspended for Week 16, perhaps Vereen could see a few extra targets as OBJ's targets get spread around.

RB - Alfred Blue, Houston Texans (36 percent)

While the Texans dole out workloads inconsistently, Blue carried the ball 20 times for 107 yards on Sunday after not playing any snaps in Week 14. It was his second 100-yard game of the season. Meanwhile, teammate Chris Polk had just four carries for six yards after getting double-digit carries in each of the previous two games. If I had to add a Houston running back, it's Blue but I wouldn't feel confident in starting him in Championship Week.

RB - Antonio Andrews, Tennessee Titans (40 percent)

Volume, not efficiency, led to a productive outing for Andrews in Week 15 as he gained a total of 70 yards on 19 touches -- 14 carries and five receptions. Andrews now has at least seven fantasy points in three consecutive games and in four of his past five.

RB - Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (29 percent)

Even though Doug Martin is having a bounce-back season and ranks second in the NFL in rushing behind Adrian Peterson, Sims has been productive in his own right. Averaging roughly 10 touches per game (9.86/G), Sims has finished as a top-30 fantasy running back in eight of 14 games including each of his past three (although there is one more game to go tonight). The Bucs running backs have a favorable matchup against the Bears this weekend so Sims should be a flex option in deeper leagues.

RB - Donald Brown, San Diego Chargers (zero percent)

With Melvin Gordon sidelined for most of the game on Sunday, Brown rushed 12 times for 90 yards and added two catches for 14 yards as well. The Chargers have a short turnaround time as they face the Raiders on Christmas Eve so it's possible that MG3 is sidelined this week. If so, Brown could see 12 to 15 touches once again.

[Update: Gordon has been placed on season-ending injured reserve.]

RB - Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins (12 percent)

Lamar Miller gained just 24 total yards on 11 touches on Sunday as Ajayi had six carries for 27 yards and a touchdown plus one catch for 15 yards. With nothing to play for, it's possible that the two backs split the workload in their final two games. That said, I'd still expect Miller to lead the backfield in Week 16 and the team has a plus matchup against the Colts.

RB - Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings (three percent)

Based on reports, Adrian Peterson (ankle) is expected to play in Week 16. If AP's status were to change, McKinnon would have a lot of upside. On 11 touches on Sunday, he racked up 86 yards and scored a touchdown. At this point, however, his primary value will be to AP owners -- or teams facing AP -- this week.

RB - Terrance West, Baltimore Ravens (one percent)

With Javorius Allen losing a second fumble in as many weeks, it was West that took over in Sunday's loss to the Chiefs. West rushed seven times for 35 yards and added two catches for 11 yards. Going into Week 16, however, Allen will likely resume his lead-back role based on comments John Harbaugh made.

- More Fantasy Football Waiver-Wire Advice Heading Into Week 16

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Bills RB LeSean McCoy "week to week" with torn MCL

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy left yesterday's game in the second quarter with a knee injury and it's likely that his season is over.

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, McCoy has a torn MCL and is considered "week to week" with two games to go.

Considering that the 6-8 Bills have been eliminated from the playoffs, it's unlikely that McCoy plays in Week 17 even though NFL Network's Ian Rapoport tweets that he is "expected back Week 17." Either way, he won't be on the field this Sunday against the Cowboys.

In 12 games this season, McCoy rushed 203 times for 895 yards and added 32 catches for 292 yards with a total of five touchdowns.

Both Karlos Williams and Mike Gillislee have been productive on limited touches. On Sunday, Gillislee rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown on four carries and Williams gained 41 yards on four carries.

More than likely, the two will form a committee with McCoy out and Anthony Dixon should see a few carries as well.

Going into Monday Night Football, the Cowboys have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

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Adrian Peterson will be "ready to go" for Week 16

With Week 16 being the Championship Week in most fantasy leagues, it was possible that the Giants-Vikings game could have been without two of the game's top fantasy options.

Not only is Odell Beckham Jr. potentially facing a one-game suspension, but Minnesota's Adrian Peterson sprained his ankle on Sunday (although he returned to the field).

Per ESPN's Josina Anderson, however, there is good news on Peterson's expected availability for Week 16.

Peterson gained 63 yards on 18 carries against the Bears, which ended a five-game streak of 100-yard rushing games against Chicago.

With six 100-yard games this season, Peterson currently leads the NFL in rushing (1,314 yards). That said, he has gained less than 70 rushing yards in four of his past five games.

The Giants have allowed the 13th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs through Sunday's games.

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2015 Fantasy Football: WR Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 16

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short- and/or long-term.

With most leagues hosting their championship in Week 16, the players on this list really comes down to those that can help you the most this week.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire.

With that said, here are some waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 16 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

WR - Dorial Green-Beckham, Tennessee Titans (23 percent)

Once the most-coveted high school recruit, Green-Beckham has plenty of talent and size (6-5, 235), but there was some expected rust after being required to sit all of 2014 due to NCAA transfer rules. Starting slowly, DGB had 40 or fewer yards in all but two of his first 11 games this season, but he has become much more involved and productive down the stretch.

Against the Patriots on Sunday, Green-Beckham finished with six catches for 113 yards on nine targets and he now has a pair of 100-yard games in the past three weeks. Over that three-game span, DGB has 14 catches for 285 yards (20.4 Y/A) and a touchdown. (He had 16/243/2 in his first 11 games combined.)

The Texans have limited opposing wide receivers to the seventh-fewest fantasy points through yesterday's games. And since Week 5, the Texans have allowed only one 100-yard receiver (Sammy Watkins in Week 13). That said, DGB has as much upside as any receiver owned in less than half of Yahoo! leagues.

WR - Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh Steelers (29 percent)

While Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant remain better options on his own team, Wheaton is a worthwhile addition given the ideal matchup heading into the fantasy season's finale. No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing receivers than the Ravens this year.

Over his past four games, Wheaton has emerged as a viable fantasy option. Not only does he have a minimum of 50 receiving yards in each of those games, but he has scored and finished as a top-24 receiver in three games during that stretch.

WR - Rueben Randle, New York Giants (35 percent)

The final status of Odell Beckham Jr., who could be suspended this week, would determine Randle's actual placement on this list of wide receiver waiver-wire options. Of course, if OBJ is forced to sit, it elevates Randle's appeal, but it sounds as though he will be suspended this week.

Since a 116-yard performance in Week 3, Randle's receiving yards has stayed within a relatively narrow band of 22 to 68 yards, but he has scored a touchdown in six of his past 12 games. Randle's targets have been so consistent with five or six targets in nine of his past 11 games. If OBJ sits, however, Randle could very well get double-digit targets this week, which would put him on the WR2 radar.

WR - Willie Snead, New Orleans Saints (50 percent)

After sitting out Week 13, Snead had seven catches for 122 yards against the Bucs in Week 14 and he faces the Lions tonight on Monday Night Football. Since Week 4, Snead has 50-plus yards in seven of nine games and he's averaging 72.56 yards per game over that stretch.

Through Sunday's games, the Jags rank 25th in the NFL in pass defense (261 YPG) and they have allowed a 100-yard wide receiver in three consecutive games -- DGB, T.Y. Hilton and Julio Jones, respectively.

WR - DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins (36 percent)

On Sunday, Parker had four catches for 87 yards and he now has at least 63 yards in three of his past four games. During that four-game stretch, Parker has averaged 61.5 yards and has scored two touchdowns. The first-round rookie receiver should continue to be involved down the stretch for the Phins and he has a favorable matchup heading into Week 16. Through Sunday's games, the Colts have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season.

WR - Dontrelle Inman, San Diego Chargers (eight percent)

Returning to the field on Sunday, Inman finished with three catches for 78 yards against the Dolphins. It was the third time in four games that Inman has exceeded 50 receiving yards. With Steve Johnson (groin) missing a second consecutive game, it's unclear whether he'll return in Week 16. If not, Inman would be my highest-ranked Chargers receiver in their upcoming matchup against the Raiders.

WR - Jeremy Butler, Baltimore Ravens (zero percent)

With three catches for 60 yards against the Chiefs yesterday, Butler now has 60-plus yards in back-to-back games for a team depleted of healthy skill-position players. Butler and the Ravens receivers have a nice matchup this weekend against the Steelers, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season through Sunday's games. As a double-digit underdog on Sunday, the Ravens could be forced into catch-up mode early.

WR - Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers (36 percent)

Despite the success of Cam Newton and Carolina's offense, Funchess has 30 yards or less in four consecutive games. That said, he has had some red-zone success with touchdowns in four of his past seven games. Funchess is a TD-dependent fantasy option, but the passing offense is clicking on all cylinders.

WR - Jermaine Kearse, Seattle Seahawks (six percent)

Kearse had a big week against the Browns on Sunday with seven catches for 110 yards. It marked the second consecutive game that Kearse finished with seven catches and more than 70 yards. While I would prefer Doug Baldwin, who has 10 touchdowns over his past four games, or Tyler Lockett, Kearse is worth a look in deeper leagues given how well Russell Wilson and the Seahawks are moving the ball through the air lately. That said, the receivers have a difficult matchup against the Rams this week.

WR - Eddie Royal, Chicago Bears (19 percent)

With two games under his belt since a multi-game absence, Royal had five catches on six targets for 31 yards yesterday. At least in deep PPR leagues, Royal is worth consideration in a plus matchup against the Bucs.

- More Fantasy Football Waiver-Wire Advice Heading Into Week 16

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Schefter: Odell Beckham likely facing one-game suspension

Letting his frustrations get the better of him yesterday, New York Giants second-year receiver Odell Beckham Jr. took a cheap shot at Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman.

And it's likely to cost him, his team and his fantasy owners.

Finishing with six catches for 76 yards and a touchdown yesterday, Beckham has scored in five consecutive games and has racked up a stat line of 91/1,395/13 in 14 games this season. Through 26 career games, OBJ has 182 catches for 2,701 yards and 25 touchdowns.

Assuming that Beckham sits in Week 16, that will open up opportunities for Rueben Randle and tight end Will Tye (my favorite tight end pick up this week) among others.

Since a 116-yard performance in Week 3, Randle's receiving yards has stayed within a relatively narrow band of 22 to 68 yards, but he has scored a touchdown in six of his past 12 games. Meanwhile, Tye has finished with 50-plus yards or a touchdown in five consecutive games.

The Giants will face the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football in Week 16 and Minnesota has been middle of the pack this season in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers.

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2015 Fantasy Football: TE Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 16

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short- and/or long-term.

With most leagues hosting their championship in Week 16, the players on this week's list really comes down to those that can help you the most this week.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire.

With that said, here are some waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 16 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

TE - Will Tye, New York Giants (10 percent)

With an average of 6.3 targets per game since Week 9, Tye has at least 50 receiving yards or a touchdown in five consecutive games. With the sixth-most fantasy points this week among tight ends heading into Monday Night Football, Tye will go into Championship Week with three consecutive top-10 fantasy outings.

If you've been dealing with an injury at tight end (Jimmy Graham, Tyler Eifert, etc.) or streaming tight ends, Tye will be a back-end TE1 or high-end TE2, at worst, in my Week 16 rankings. The matchup in Week 16 against the Vikings isn't great, or horrible, but Tye is my favorite option among tight ends owned in (less than) 50 percent of leagues.

TE - Zach Miller, Chicago Bears (34 percent)

Since Week 9, Miller has averaged 3.43 receptions for 47.86 yards per game and he has scored a total of five touchdowns during that seven-game span. During that span, Miller has three top-10 weekly finishes. With Martellus Bennett placed on injured reserve, Miller has at least five catches and 57 yards in back-to-back games.

TE - Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers (35 percent)

Miller had just three catches on five targets for 12 yards on Sunday afternoon against the Broncos. With Ben Roethlisberger back under center, however, Miller has averaged 7.83 targets per game in his past six games. In two of those six games, Miller has double-digit receptions. Miller is better option for those in point-per-reception (PPR) formats than standard-scoring leagues.

That said, he has finished outside the top-12 fantasy tight ends in five consecutive games and the Ravens have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends through Sunday's games.

TE - Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions (31 percent)

Heading into Monday Night Football, Ebron has 28 yards or less in six consecutive games although he has a dream matchup against the Saints tonight. The 49ers present a more challenging matchup for Ebron in Week 16 as they have allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points to the position through Sunday's games. That said, the former top-10 overall pick has five top-12 weekly outings this season.

TE - Blake Bell, San Francisco 49ers (zero percent)

Bell has more than 40 receiving yards in back-to-back games and he had a season-high eight targets on Sunday. Even though Vance McDonald returned from his concussion, Bell had twice as many targets as McDonald (four). Both tight ends have a plus matchup in Week 16 as the Lions have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season through Sunday's games, but Bell is little more than a dart throw.

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December 20, 2015

Cam Newton throws for 340/5, rushes for 100 yards; Panthers remain perfect

The game turned out much closer than it appeared it would be after the Carolina Panthers established a third-quarter 35-7 lead on Sunday.

While the New York Giants tied the game with less than 2:00 minutes to go on a touchdown from Eli Manning to Odell Beckham, Graham Gano kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired as the Panthers improved to 14-0.

Not only have they won 14 consecutive games this year, but it was the team's 18th regular-season win in a row, which is the third-longest streak in NFL history.

As noted earlier, Ted Ginn Jr. caught two touchdowns to extend his streak of games with two scores to three games, but Cam Newton threw a total of five touchdowns on Sunday. Greg Olsen, Devin Funchess and Corey Brown all caught Newton touchdown passes as well.

Completing 25-of-45 pass attempts, Newton threw for a season-high 340 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions and he rushed eight times for a season-high 100 yards.

It was the third time in five games that Newton has thrown five touchdown passes.

On the season, Newton has thrown for 3,402 yards, 33 touchdowns with 10 interceptions and rushed 119 times for 580 yards and seven touchdowns.

With his fifth consecutive 3,000/500 season, Newton broke his own record. Only four other quarterbacks have multiple 3,000/500 seasons: Randall Cunningham (three); Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and Michael Vick (two each).

(Wilson entered today only 44 rushing yards shy of getting a third 3,000/500 season.)

Newton and the Panthers will face the Falcons in Week 16 for the second time in three weeks. Carolina shut out the Falcons 38-0 on Dec. 13th and Newton threw for 265 yards and three touchdowns.

Once again, Newton will be a top-three fantasy quarterback for me in Week 16.

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Ted Ginn Jr. scores twice, has 6 TDs in past 3G

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. was targeted 14 times by Cam Newton on Sunday and turned those targets into six catches for 80 yards and two touchdowns.

It was the third consecutive game in which Ginn finished with 80-plus yards and scored two touchdowns. In addition, it was Ginn's fourth multi-touchdown game this season.

During that three-game span, Ginn has 13 catches for 285 yards and six touchdowns.

Not only has scored 20-plus fantasy points in all three of those games, but he will likely once again finish as a top-five fantasy producer for a third consecutive week.

On the year, Ginn has 43 catches for 730 yards and 10 touchdowns. From 2007 to 2014, Ginn had a total of 11 receiving touchdowns. He also has four rush attempts for 60 yards as well.

In Week 16, the Panthers will face the Atlanta Falcons for the second time in three games. Targeted only three times against the Falcons last week, Ginn had two catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns.

If Ginn scores two touchdowns in a fourth consecutive game, it will tie an NFL record shared by Calvin Johnson and Hall-of-Famer Cris Carter. That said, Doug Baldwin has already caught two touchdowns this afternoon against the Browns.

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Sammy Watkins finishes with 5/111/2, scores in 4th straight game

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins continued his hot streak in a loss to the Washington Redskins on Sunday with five catches for 111 yards and two scores.

Watkins has now scored in four consecutive games and exceeded 100 yards in three of those games. During that span, he has 19 catches for 459 yards and six touchdowns.

Averaging 24.16 yards per reception, Watkins has at least 10 targets in three of his past four games.

In 11 games this season, Watkins has a total of 44 catches for 827 yards and nine touchdowns. As a rookie last season, Watkins had 65 catches for 982 yards and six scores.

If Watkins scores a touchdown in Week 16, he will tie the franchise record for most consecutive games with a touchdown. The record is currently shared by Steve Johnson (2010), Lee Evans (2004), Eric Moulds (1999) and Elbert Dubenion (1964).

The Bills will host the Dallas Cowboys in Week 16. On paper, the matchup isn't great as the Cowboys have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points going into Week 15.

That said, Watkins will be ranked as a high-end WR2 in my Week 16 rankings.

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Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings: Updated Quarterback (QB) Rankings

After a slow start to the season, no quarterback has been hotter than Seattle's Russell Wilson.

In each of his past four games, Wilson has finished as a top-three weekly fantasy quarterback and the top producer in two of those weeks. Not only has Wilson scored a minimum of 25 fantasy points in all four of those games, but he has at least 32 in three consecutive games.

During that four-game streak, Wilson has thrown 16 touchdowns and no interceptions and averaged 292.75 passing yards per game. In addition, he has 101 rushing yards and a rushing score over that stretch as well.

Through Week 10, he had just 10 touchdowns to seven interceptions and had averaged only 15.8 fantasy points per game. In fact, he had just two top-12 weekly outings in those first nine games: QB9 in Week 2 and QB11 in Week 10.

Heading into Week 15, Wilson has scored the fifth-most fantasy points among quarterbacks. In addition, he is only 1.36 fantasy points behind QB3 (Carson Palmer).

With a fantasy-friendly matchup, Wilson is set up for another strong outing. The Browns have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

Carson Palmer: 300+ Yards and/or 2+ TDs in 12 of 13G

As noted above, Arizona's Carson Palmer ranks third in fantasy points scored this season.

With 4,003 passing yards and 31 passing touchdowns, Palmer is likely to exceed his all-time career highs on Sunday. His previous career highs are 4,278 yards and 32 touchdowns.

Palmer's consistency has been remarkable.

Finishing no worse than QB17 in any week this season, Palmer has scored a minimum of 15.98 fantasy points in all 13 games. In addition, he has 300-plus yards and/or multiple touchdowns in 12 of 13 games this year.

Only the Saints and Jaguars have allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

Over their past six games combined, the Eagles have allowed 20 touchdowns -- 19 passing and one rushing -- to opposing quarterbacks. In addition, they have allowed 29-plus fantasy points in three of their past four games.

Here are some more fantasy football notes on quarterbacks:

  • In his first five games of the season, Detroit's Matthew Stafford scored single-digit fantasy points three times and less than 14 fantasy points four times. Since then, however, he has scored a minimum of 15 fantasy points in seven of eight games. During that eight-game span, he has thrown 18 touchdowns and rushed for another and has averaged 20.76 fantasy points per contest. Going into Week 15, no quarterback has a more favorable matchup than Stafford as the Saints allow an average of 24.07 fantasy points per game.

  • One of the biggest surprises this season, Jacksonville's Blake Bortles has scored the sixth-most fantasy points this season and has finished as a top-10 fantasy producer in eight games including each of his past three games. With a minimum of 22 fantasy points in each of his last three games, Bortles has thrown a total of 10 touchdowns to only one interception and has rushed for another score. In addition, he has exceeded 320 passing yards in two of those games.

  • Eli Manning is coming off one of his best performances of the season with 337 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions against the Dolphins on Monday night. With 27.28 fantasy points, Eli scored more fantasy points than every other quarterback except Wilson last week. Given the matchup this week against the Panthers, who have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, Manning is ranked just outside my top-15 fantasy quarterbacks for the week.

  • With 371 rushing yards and three rushing scores this season, Buffalo's Tyrod Taylor's rushing stats have accounted for 5.01 fantasy points per game, which helps to boost his weekly floor. In his past three games, however, Taylor has thrown for 256.67 yards per game and seven touchdowns with only one interception. Averaging 24.5 fantasy points over that three-game stretch, Taylor has finished as the weekly QB5, QB7 and QB13, respectively, and is inside my top-12 fantasy quarterbacks for Week 15.

  • Leading the NFL in completions (359) and pass attempts (541), Rivers is averaging a career-high 305.8 passing yards per game this season. And while he has the 11th-most fantasy points on the year, it's been a disappointing stretch for Rivers and San Diego's offense. With the exception of 300 yards and four touchdowns against the Jags in Week 12, Rivers has thrown zero touchdowns in three of his other four most recent games, which is one of the reasons the under in this game is one of my favorite picks against the spread for Week 15. In those non-Jacksonville games, Rivers has scored 5.92, 6.08 and 8.92 fantasy points, respectively.

  • Atlanta's Matt Ryan has had a rough year. Even though he ranks fifth in the NFL in passing (3,705 yards), Ryan has thrown only 17 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Among quarterbacks with 3,000-plus passing yards, Ryan is one of only three with less than 20 touchdowns and at least 10 interceptions -- Jameis Winston and Kirk Cousins are the other two. Fortunately for Ryan, however, he has a great matchup this weekend as only the Saints have allowed more fantasy points than the Jags this season.

Below you find my Week 15 Fantasy Football QB Rankings:

1. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (vs. CLE)
2. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (at NYG)
3. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (at PHI)
4. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (vs. TEN)
5. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (at OAK)
6. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (at NO)
7. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (vs. DET)
8. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. ATL)
9. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. DEN)
10. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (vs. GB)
11. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (at WAS)
12. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans (at NE)
13. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (at JAX)
14. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (vs. MIA)
15. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (at BAL)
16. Eli Manning, New York Giants (vs. CAR)
17. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears (at MIN)
18. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (at SD)
19. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (vs. BUF)
20. A.J. McCarron, Cincinnati Bengals (at SF)
21. Brock Osweiler, Denver Broncos (at PIT)
22. Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns (at SEA)
23. Blaine Gabbert, San Francisco 49ers (vs. CIN)
24. T.J. Yates, Houston Texans (at SEA)
25. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings (vs. CHI)

* Note: QBs that have already played have been removed.

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 15 (Hanson)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 14 of the 2015 NFL season:

Arizona Cardinals -4.5 over Philadelphia Eagles (4 units)

The Carolina Panthers may be playing for perfection, but no team is as complete as the Arizona Cardinals. Not only do the Cardinals rank first in yardage differential, but they rank first in the NFL in total offense and fourth in total defense. On the other hand, the Eagles rank 28th in rush defense and 24th in pass defense so I expect Carson Palmer and the Cardinals to be able to move the ball at will.

A few weeks ago, the Eagles allowed back-to-back quarterbacks (Jameis Winston and Matthew Stafford) to throw for five touchdowns a piece. It wouldn't surprise me if Palmer had similar success tonight. Arizona has a trio of talented receivers -- Larry Fitzgerald (first 1,000-yard season since 2011), John Brown (on pace for 1,000-plus yards) and Michael Floyd (100-plus yards in three of four games).

Not only is Palmer an impressive 24-4 in his past 28 games as a starter, but Bruce Arians is 19-11 ATS as a favorite. In addition, the Eagles have won only two of 18 games in which they were a home underdog.

Chargers vs. Dolphins -- Under 46.0 (2 units)

The matchup is a favorable one for Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense, but they have struggled lately. With the exception being a four-TD performance against the Jags, Rivers has thrown zero touchdowns in three of four games. In those three games, the Chargers scored exactly three points each week.

On the other hand, the matchup should be favorable for Lamar Miller and the Dolphins, but their play-calling this season has been questionable, at best. Miller has single-digit carries in five of 13 games this season. After throwing multiple touchdowns in three consecutive games, Ryan Tannehill has thrown for only 322 yards and two touchdowns in his past two games combined.

Both offenses have underperformed expectations this season and this game has gone under in each of their past five meetings.

Washington Redskins +3 over Buffalo Bills (2 units)

In a week where the Giants host the unbeaten Panthers and the Eagles face the most balanced team in the league (see above), Washington may have an opportunity to take sole possession of first place in the NFC Least. Depending on the location of their games, they have looked like two different teams this season.

Washington is 5-2 at home so I'll gladly take the points at Fedex Field. In fact, Kirk Cousins has an 11:0 TD-to-INT ratio in his home games since Week 2. Earlier in the week, the Bills placed cornerback Stephon Gilmore, one of the league's better young cornerbacks, on season-ending injured reserve, which improves the matchup.

At a minimum, I expect Washington to keep the game to within a field goal although I think they win this one straight up.

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 15 (Trifone)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 14 of the 2015 NFL season:

Houston Texans +1 over Indianapolis Colts (4 units)

The winner of this game is likely to win the division. It feels like the Colts have run out of magic. Matt Hasselbeck had been solid in his first few starts in relief of Andrew Luck, but there's only so much you can expect from a 40-year-old backup quarterback. The Texans have been playing better down the stretch, and although they lost to the Patriots last week, most teams lose to the Patriots. I like Houston to bounce back here on the road and likely win the AFC South.

Cleveland Browns +14.5 over Seattle Seahawks (4 units)

Who in their right mind would take the Browns to cover going into Seattle? Call me crazy, but I think the Browns prove to be a lot tougher than this spread would indicate. While Cleveland has nothing to play for, Johnny Football has everything to play for, as he strives to prove he belongs in the league. I think he will surprise a few people and follow up a solid performance last week with another one here. I like Cleveland to cover.

San Diego Chargers -2 over Miami Dolphins (5 units)

The Dolphins season ended last week at the hands of Odell Beckham and the Giants. The Chargers are not going to the playoffs either, but this could be their last home game in San Diego before moving to LA. I think Philip Rivers will have a strong showing and put some points on the board this week. Give me the Chargers at home this week, 34-20.

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 15 (Beazley)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 14 of the 2015 NFL season:

New England Patriots -14 over Tennessee Titans (5 units)
Patriots vs. Titans -- Over 47 (5 units)

I absolutely love New England Sunday. I will never forget the 59-0 beating the Titans took the last time they went to Foxboro, and I sadly think they are in for another beating this week. The Patriots are going to be able to do whatever they want offensively. I love Brandon Bolden in the LeGarrette Blount role if you are playing DFS, and it's the one week where I am actually thinking of paying up for kicker on FanDuel because I expect the Patriots to score a lot of points. Patriots big, 48-17.

San Diego Chargers -2 over Miami Dolphins (3 units)

The last home game for the Chargers franchise in San Diego. I think the Chargers go out with a bang in this one. I think Philip Rivers has a monster game against a Miami defense which has been pretty bad the past month.
San Diego, 30-20.

Arizona Cardinals -4.5 over Philadelphia Eagles (3 units)

I like Arizona on the road on Sunday night. Their offense should be unstoppable against a defense that just bleeds points. David Johnson has shown he can handle the workload and I believe he has another big game. I also like Carson Palmer to throw for 300-plus yards and a few scores. Cardinals big, 38-23.

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 15 (Yanotchko)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 14 of the 2015 NFL season:

Kansas City Chiefs -6.5 over Baltimore Ravens (4 units)

The Chiefs have been rolling as of late, and they will look to continue their absolute turnaround from 1-5, to a wildcard spot in the AFC Playoffs. What more can be said for the Ravens, who have been decimated by injury as they will be down two quarterbacks in Matt Schaub and Joe Flacco. The Chiefs defense has come alive as of late, and they will take away the one true weapon the Ravens have in Javorius Allen, as he will face a rushing defense that gives up 3.9 yards per carry and only 92.2 yards per game.

Also the Ravens have one of the worst secondaries in the league, as they allow 248 yards passing per game, and 27 touchdowns, and only four picks overall. I am looking for a big day from Alex Smith, Jeremy Maclin, and Travis Kelce, and I will easily give up the TD here.

San Diego Chargers -2 over Miami Dolphins (5 units)

In what could be the final San Diego home game of all time, I have a feeling that the Chargers are going to go out with a bang. They will get a Miami team on a short week, flying all the way across the country, and to top it all off, one of the worst defenses in the league.

The Dolphins have been horrible and vunerable to both forms of attack this year, as on the ground Danny Woodhead and Melvin Gordon will be able to exploit a squad that gives up 4.1 yards per carry, and 131.5 yards per game. Also, the Dolphins are really bad against the pass, and I am really loving Phillip Rivers to carve up a secondary that gives up 262 yards per game, and 65-percent completion rate.

I really love the Chargers at home with the emotional lift from the crowd and absolutely think they are two points better at home than an average Miami club.

Arizona Cardinals -4.5 over Philadelphia Eagles (3 units)

This game absolutely will have a chance to have huge offensive fireworks, and I really think this is the game of the week as it could be a possible preview of a second-round playoff contest. The Cardinals have the most explosive offense in the league, and I am really loving them against an Eagles defense that has improved, but still is prone to give up huge numbers.

The Cardinals can attack Philly in two ways, as they can use David Johnson on the ground, who gets a great matchup against a front-seven that gives up 4.4 yards per carry and 126.8 yards per game. There is also not a better team in the league with the vertical passing game than the Cardinals, and they are always looking to take shots down the field. Carson Palmer also has a beautiful matchup against the Eagles secondary that gives up 259 yards per game and 29 touchdowns. I will lay the points here again, as Philly has been hot, but they are due for a stinker.

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December 19, 2015

Week 15 Fantasy Football: Wide Receivers Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Doug Baldwin is listed below as a "start" for Week 15. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 15 with him as one of my starting wide receivers.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Julio Jones, Brandon Marshall and Baldwin and started only two receivers, you should start Jones and Marshall -- and in turn, bench Baldwin.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 15:

WR - Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks (vs. CLE)

Baldwin has (unexpectedly) become one of the most dominant fantasy wide receivers in the league. He has finished as a top-three fantasy receiver in three consecutive games and as a top-five performer in four of his past five. During that five-game stretch, he has a total of 30 receptions for 515 yards and nine touchdowns. (In his first eight games, he had a total of only 31/345/2.)

With a plus matchup, it's certainly possible that the good times continue to roll for Russell Wilson, Baldwin and Seattle's passing attack. The Browns have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season.

WR - Eric Decker, New York Jets (at DAL)

Decker has a minimum of 80 yards and/or a touchdown in every game this season, which means that he has also scored eight or more fantasy points in every game this season. With 66 catches for 875 yards and nine touchdowns, Decker has scored the 11th-most fantasy points among wide receivers. The Cowboys have been excellent at limiting fantasy points to opposing receivers, but Decker and Brandon Marshall are both inside my top-12 fantasy receivers for this week.

WR - Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs (at BAL)

Since a four-game stretch with exactly three catches and no more than six targets per game, Maclin has a minimum of six catches and nine targets in three consecutive games. During that three-game span, Maclin has a total of 24/323/3 on his 30 targets. This week, Maclin and the Chiefs face a Ravens secondary that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

WR - John Brown, Arizona Cardinals (at PHI)

Over his past nine games, Brown has finished as a top-30 fantasy wide receiver in eight games. In five of those nine games, he has finished as a top-15 fantasy receiver. Brown is set up for another big week as the Eagles have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 15:

WR - Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys (vs. NYJ)

Since returning in Week 8, Bryant's fantasy usefulness has relied on whether or not he has scored. In his past seven games, Bryant has averaged 43.29 yards per game and has had two games with 12 yards or less including a nine-yard performance last week. Only the Vikings (nine) and Rams (10) have fewer passing touchdowns than the Cowboys (12) this season.

WR - Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos (at PIT)

Since posting a 6/113 line on nine targets in the team's OT win versus the Patriots, Sanders has finished with less than 20 receiving yards in back-to-back games. In those two games, Sanders and Brock Osweiler have connected on only five of 14 targets. In addition, Sanders has 22 yards or less in four of his past six games. The Steelers have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing receivers, but Sanders is more of a flex option, than WR2, against his former team.

WR - Travis Benjamin, Cleveland Browns (at SEA)

Benjamin has tons of big-play ability, but he's been a boom-or-bust fantasy option over the past half-season. In his past eight games, Benjamin has double-digit fantasy points in three games and less than three fantasy points in four games. Facing the Seahawks, who have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season, this week is shaping up to be a "bust" type of week for Benjamin.

WR - Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings (vs. CHI)

Since beginning his NFL career with a four-game stat line of 25/419/2, Diggs has averaged 36.5 yards per game with no scores over his past six games. Over the past three weeks, Diggs has seen his production dip from 31 to 22 to 12 receiving yards and he has finished outside of the top-70 fantasy receivers in each of those games. Diggs did have 6/95/1 on a career-high 12 targets against the Bears in Week 8, but his cold stretch makes it unlikely that he repeats his early-season success in Week 15.

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Week 15 Fantasy Football: Running Backs Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Denard Robinson is listed below as a "start" for Week 15. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 15 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte and Robinson and started only two running backs, you should start McCoy and Forte -- and in turn, bench Robinson.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 15:

RB - DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. DEN)

During a five-game span as the team's starter once again, Williams has scored more than 14 fantasy points in four games and finished as a top-four weekly fantasy running back in three of those five games. Over that stretch, Williams has a total of 101 carries for 463 yards and five touchdowns plus 17 catches for 204 yards.

Since that point, only two running backs have more yards from scrimmage than Williams (667, 133.4/G): LeSean McCoy (723, 120.5/G) and Adrian Peterson (717, 119.5/G). But both backs played six games while the Steelers had their bye during that span.

If you include the first two games of the season when Le'Veon Bell was suspended, Williams has finished as a top-15 fantasy running back in six of seven games as a starter. The matchup may not be a great one but given his usage rate, Williams should exceed 100 YFS and there's a better chance than not that he finds the end zone on Sunday.

RB - David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (at PHI)

Johnson has rushed for 90-plus yards in back-to-back games as the starter and he has totalled 243 yards from scrimmage on 48 touches in those two games combined. Johnson has now finished as a top-24 fantasy running back in four consecutive weeks. Despite limited touches this year, Johnson has scored a total of nine touchdowns -- four rushing, four receiving and one return. In their past seven games, the Eagles have allowed 10 (yes, 10!) different running backs score double-digit fantasy points.

RB - Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers (at OAK)

In Sunday's win over the Cowboys, Lacy carried the ball 24 times for 124 yards, both of which were season highs, and a touchdown and he added a 24-yard reception. It was the third time in four games that Lacy has rushed for at least 100 yards. No running back has more 100-yard rushing games over the past four weeks than Lacy and only two others have at least two 100-yard performances during that stretch.

The Raiders have allowed 2.92 yards per carry to opposing running backs over the past four weeks, but they allowed monster performances to DeAngelo Williams (225 YFS and two TDs) in Week 9 and Adrian Peterson (216 YFS and a TD) in Week 10. Barring any curfew-related punishments, Lacy should finish this week as a top-10 running back once again.

RB - Denard Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. ATL)

With T.J. Yeldon doubtful to play this week, Robinson takes over lead-back duties in a favorable matchup. Not only did he have some success when given the opportunity last season, but he rushed for 75 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries last week and added a 12-yard reception as well. Only the 49ers have allowed more fantasy points to opposing running backs this season than the Falcons.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 15:

RB - DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. ARI)

Murray has less than 40 scrimmage yards in three consecutive games and he's finished outside of the top-48 weekly running backs in each of those games as well. With Ryan Mathews back on the field, Murray is nothing more than part of a rotation as opposed to being the centerpiece in the offense. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

RB - Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers (vs. MIA)

Despite losing a fumble against the Broncos in Week 13, the good news is that Gordon got 18 touches in Week 14. The bad news is that he still hasn't scored a touchdown as the team's offense continues to struggle. In addition, MG3 gained just 63 yards on his 18 touches.

With the exception of Week 2 (RB16), Gordon has finished outside of the top-24 fantasy running backs in every other game of his young career. Even though the Chargers' backfield has a terrific matchup, it's hard to trust MG3 as anything more than a flex this week.

RB - Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (at SEA)

No running back scored more fantasy points last week than Crowell, who rushed for a season-high 145 yards and two touchdowns against the 49ers. In his previous seven games, however, Crowell had finished outside of the weekly top-30 fantasy running backs and he gets a terrible matchup this week. Not only have the Seahawks allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, but the Seahawks are 15-point favorites, which should force the Browns into catch-up mode early.

RB - Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (vs. CAR)

Jennings had a season-high 24 touches last week for 102 yards from scrimmage, which also set a season high. Before last week, however, Jennings had rushed for only 379 yards on 103 carries in his previous 11 games. There is no guarantee that Jennings approaches 20-plus touches once again, however, as the Giants have used a four-man rotation and Jennings had 14 total touches in his previous two games combined. With a less-than-favorable matchup against one of the league's best defenses, I view last week's performance as an exception to the rule than a change in opportunity for Jennings.

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Week 15 Fantasy Football: Quarterbacks Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Matthew Stafford is listed below as a "start" for Week 15. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 15 with him as my starting quarterback.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Tom Brady and Stafford, you should start Brady -- and in turn, bench Stafford.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 15:

QB - Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (at NO)

In his first five games of the season, Stafford scored single-digit fantasy points three times and less than 14 fantasy points four times. Since then, however, he has scored a minimum of 15 fantasy points in seven of eight games. During that span, he has thrown 18 touchdowns and rushed for another and has averaged 20.76 fantasy points per contest.

Going into Week 15, no quarterback has a more favorable matchup than Stafford as the Saints allow an average of 24.07 fantasy points per game. As a comparison, the Jags are second (20.11/G). Although they have had some better outings recently, the Saints have allowed 302.7 passing yards and 3.22 passing touchdowns per game since Week 5.

QB - Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. ATL)

One of the biggest surprises this season, Bortles has scored the sixth-most fantasy points this season and he's been a strong fantasy producer on a consistent basis. In 13 games, Bortles has finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in eight games including each of his past three games.

With a minimum of 22 fantasy points in each of his last three games, Bortles has thrown a total of 10 touchdowns to only one interception and has rushed for another score. In addition, he has exceeded 320 passing yards in two of those games.

The matchup against the Falcons may not be great, as they have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, but Bortles has played way too well to keep on your bench this week.

QB - Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (at WAS)

With 371 rushing yards and three rushing scores this season, Taylor's rushing stats have accounted for 5.01 fantasy points per game, which helps to boost his weekly floor. In his past three games, however, Taylor has thrown for 256.67 yards per game with seven touchdowns and only one interception. Averaging 24.5 fantasy points over that three-game stretch, Taylor has finished as the weekly QB5, QB7 and QB13, respectively, and is inside my top-12 fantasy quarterbacks for Week 15.

QB - Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (at DAL)

Since Week 6, Fitzpatrick has finished the week as a top-eight fantasy quarterback in five games. In the other four games, he left one early due to injury and finished the week as fantasy's QB11, QB13 and QB17 in the rest. Excluding the game he didn't finish, Fitzpatrick has scored 20 touchdowns -- 18 passing and two rushing, averaged 269.88 passing yards and 21.0 rushing yards per game.

Even though the matchup isn't favorable as the Cowboys have allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, Fitzpatrick and the team's passing offense has played well enough that he's at least a back-end TE1 for Week 15.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 15:

QB - Eli Manning, New York Giants (vs. CAR)

Eli is coming off one of his best performances of the season with 337 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions against the Dolphins on Monday night. With 27.28 fantasy points, Eli scored more fantasy points than every other quarterback except Russell Wilson last week. Given the matchup against the Panthers, who have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, Manning is ranked just outside my top-15 fantasy quarterbacks for the week.

QB - Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (vs. MIA)

Leading the NFL in completions (359) and pass attempts (541), Rivers is averaging a career-high 305.8 passing yards per game this season. And while he has the 11th-most fantasy points on the year, it's been a disappointing stretch for Rivers and San Diego's offense.

With the exception of 300 yards and four touchdowns against the Jags in Week 12, Rivers has thrown no touchdowns in three of his other four most recent games. In those non-Jacksonville games, Rivers has scored 5.92, 6.08 and 8.92 fantasy points, respectively.

QB - Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. ARI)

The Eagles have won back-to-back games and are tied for first place in the NFC Least, but Bradford has averaged only 11.7 fantasy points per game since Week 6. During that span, he has scored more than 15 fantasy points only once -- 15.7 in Week 9 (QB16). Against an Arizona defense that allows the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, now isn't the time to trust Bradford or any Eagles offensive player.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 15

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December 18, 2015

Week 15 Collaborative DraftKings GPP Lineup

Modifying a theme we do every April with NFL mock drafts, Sean Beazley and I collaborated (alternated picks) on putting together a GPP lineup for Week 15 DraftKings tournaments.

Below we both comment on all of the selections, but here is the final lineup:

QB: Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (at PHI), $7,000
RB: Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers (at OAK), $5,200
RB: Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots (vs. TEN), $3,200
WR: Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (at JAX), $8,500
WR: Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs (at BAL), $5,500
WR: John Brown, Arizona Cardinals (at PHI), $4,900
TE: Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns (at SEA), $5,000
Flex: DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. DEN), $6,600
DST: Arizona Cardinals DST (at PHI), $3,900

Here are our individual picks with comments in the order that we drafted our team:

Sean Beazley: Jeremy Maclin, $5,500

Sean: Maclin draws a great matchup vs. the Ravens, who just got torched by Russell Wilson and the Seahawks last week. Maclin has averaged 10 targets over his past three games, hauling in 24 catches during this time. Alex Smith has great chemistry with Maclin and I believe he has a field day and finishes north of 20 DK points.

Kevin: Given the style of the offense, Maclin's ceiling may not be as high as some other receivers in his price range, but he should easily exceed value given his recent level of production and the matchup.

Kevin Hanson: Carson Palmer, $7,000

Kevin: Palmer's ownership level should be relatively low this week considering that his salary is identical to that of Russell Wilson. Given Wilson's recent hot streak, I expect him to be the highest-owned quarterback of the week, which in turn should mean an ownership level of less than 10 percent for Palmer. With the third-most fantasy points scored this season, Palmer has 300-plus passing yards and/or multiple touchdowns in 12 of 13 games this season. Based on DK scoring, the Eagles have allowed the second-most fantasy points this season and they have allowed a total of 20 touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in their past six games.

Sean: Palmer is in a great spot this week vs the Eagles, but I really like their RB David Johnson if Andre Ellington remains out this week. Johnson has averaged 23 touches the past week, and that's a ridiculous amount for the NFL's second highest scoring offense. A Palmer/Johnson/WR stack would definitely be contrarian. I'll have some exposure to Palmer, but more for Johnson.

Sean Beazley: Julio Jones, $8,500

Sean: Jones has disappointed owners the past three weeks. He has failed to hit value or reach 100 yards receiving during this span. Jones also has hasn't caught a TD pass since Week 8. Many DFS players tend to fade players that have burned them in the past. I think Julio will be the least owned of the top four WRs this week. Jones gets a good matchup vs. the Jags, who most teams attack via the air. I think Jones has a rebound game this week and will be the highest-scoring player of the week.

Kevin: Jones has not scored a touchdown in five consecutive games, but he still leads the NFL in both receptions and yards. In addition, he has double-digit targets in all but two games this season. With his volume of targets in a favorable matchup, Jones is my top-ranked receiver for Week 15.

Kevin Hanson: John Brown, $4,900

Kevin: Brown has a minimum of 14 DK points in eight of his past nine games so the consistent production has been there. In a matchup against the Eagles, who allow the most fantasy points to opposing receivers, the ceiling is high for the speedy wideout from Pittsburg State. I'll also have my fair share of Michael Floyd, who has exceeded 100 yards in three of his past four games, and Larry Fitzgerald stacked with Palmer as well this week.

Sean: Brown is my favorite Cardinals WR to stack with Palmer this week. The salary is perfect. I love deep threats vs. this defense who struggles with man coverage.

Sean Beazley: Brandon Bolden, $3,200

Sean: There are a lot of cheap RBs this week that you can target. I believe that teammate James White will be the highest-owned Patriots RB this week. One of the main reasons why I like Bolden is game flow. The last time Tennessee traveled to Foxboro, they lost 59-0. While I think this team is a little better, they should still get smoked this week and Vegas agrees since they are 14-point dogs. There is always risk rostering a Patriots RB, so Bolden is only a GPP play for me this week. I generally look for 4-5x from my punt value plays, so I'm looking for 14 points here. 15-50-1, 2-10 seems like a reasonable line to me in a game I expect the Patriots to score five-plus TDs.

Kevin: As Sean noted, it's hard to trust a Patriots running back in anything other than a GPP. But at slightly more than minimum salary, Bolden could easily get 15 touches and potentially some goal-line work in a game where they should score a lot of points. He's worth the roll of the dice here and gives us some salary-cap relief.

Kevin Hanson: Eddie Lacy, $5,200

Kevin: Over the past four weeks, who has the most 100-yard rushing games? Of course, the answer is Lacy (three). In fact, only three players have more than one during that span. Barring a game following a curfew mishap, Lacy has 20-plus touches in those three 100-yard games. Ownership levels shouldn't be too high given his Week 13 dud and early-season struggles, but he has 100-yard, two-TD type of upside at a reasonable price.

Sean: I'm on board with Lacy as a target this week. He's had 20 touches in three of four weeks.

Sean Beazley: Gary Barnidge, $5,000

Sean: Barnidge has been one of the biggest fantasy surprises this year. Everyone was on the TE narrative at the beginning of the year, and that was playing whoever is facing Oakland. Well in Week 3, it was Gary Barnidge. He was an unknown, and if you played him, you were rewarded with 25.5 DK points. Since then, Barnidge has scored 15-plus DK points in seven of 10 games. Barnidge is safe for cash, but safety for a GPP is also a plus, since many people usually try to punt this position with someone in the $2,700-$3,200 range. Seattle's defense has been pretty poor against TEs this season. Cleveland should be down in this one, so I expect Barnidge to see double-digit targets and hit 15-plus DK points again this week.

Kevin: On pace for 80/1,109/10, what a year it has been for Barnidge. I prefer him in cash games, but he's a fine choice in GPPs as well.

Kevin Hanson: DeAngelo Williams, $6,600

Kevin: While the Broncos have limited opposing passers and receivers to the fewest fantasy points, they have been middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs this season. In his seven starts this season, Williams has been highly productive: 891 YFS, 22 receptions and eight touchdowns. Based on DK scoring, he has averaged 24.16 fantasy points per start. In three of those seven starts, he has scored multiple touchdowns; only Chris Ivory (15) has more rush attempts inside the 5-yard line than Williams (12) this season. He's been consistent, but he has a high ceiling as well and I think he'll be fairly low-owned.

Sean: Kevin has a set of big ones with this play, and I like it. Williams should be extremely low owned in tournaments facing the Broncos who are third vs. the run this season. I think Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers can move the ball vs Denver this week, and that makes all Steelers offensive weapons great tournament plays.

Kevin Hanson: Arizona Cardinals DST, $3,900

Kevin: I think the Cardinals win this game comfortably and establish an early lead, forcing the Eagles to throw more often than they would like. Only the Panthers and Chiefs have more interceptions than the Cardinals (16) with three of those returned for touchdowns. In addition, they have multiple sacks in four of their past five games. And not only have the Cardinals D/ST scored positive points in all 13 games, but they have double-digit fantasy points in five games this season.

Sean: There are golden rules in yearly leagues like drafting defense and kicker in the last two rounds, and there are golden rules in daily leagues as well. I rarely ever target road defenses, and in the rare case I do the defense needs to be either elite or very cheap. The Cardinals do not fit this criteria. In a GPP however, I can get on board with the play for one reason. This is a great correlation play with Palmer/Brown. If you're expecting Palmer/Brown to go off, then you're probably expecting the Cardinals to be able to score some points and have a lead in the game. This could lead to some extra sacks, and potentially a pick-six.

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2015 Fantasy Football: Week 15 Fantasy Wide Receiver Rankings

New York Giants second-year wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. currently owns the franchise record for the longest streak of 100-yard receiving games.

With seven catches for 166 yards and two touchdowns on Monday Night Football, Beckham extended his streak to six games.

During that six-game stretch, OBJ has a total of 43 catches for 796 yards and eight touchdowns on 76 targets. Not only does he have double-digit fantasy points in each of those games, but Beckham has scored a minimum of 20.2 fantasy points in each of his past three games.

Through 25 NFL games, he has 176 receptions for 2,625 yards and 24 touchdowns plus 38 rushing yards. In addition, he has at least 100 receiving yards in 15 (or 60 percent) of those 25 games.

OBJ faces his biggest challenge this weekend, however.

Not only do the Panthers allow the ninth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers, but Josh Norman has arguably emerged as the league's best cornerback. The Panthers have allowed only two 100-yard receivers this season -- Vincent Jackson in Week 4 and Brandin Cooks in Week 13.

Despite the matchup, OBJ is still a top-two fantasy wide receiver for me in Week 15.

Here are some more fantasy football notes on wide receivers:

  • Even with Atlanta's recent offensive struggles, Julio Jones still leads the NFL in receptions (109) and receiving yards (1,426). Over his past eight games, Jones has 88-plus yards in seven games. With a five-game scoring drought, Jones has finished as the WR50, WR31 and WR27 in his past three games, respectively. The Jags rank 25th in the NFL in passing defense and Jones could be in store for a bounce-back fantasy performance this week.

  • Buffalo's Sammy Watkins is one of the league's more inconsistent fantasy wide receivers, but he has now had three strong outings in a row. Against the Eagles on Sunday, Watkins had five catches for 81 yards and a touchdown on a season-high 12 targets. Over that three-game span, he has a total of 348 yards and four touchdowns and an average of 19.63 fantasy points per game.

  • Since a four-game stretch with exactly three catches and no more than six targets per game, Kansas City's Jeremy Maclin has a minimum of six catches and nine targets in three consecutive games. During that three-game span, Maclin has a total of 24/323/3 on his 30 targets. This week, Maclin and the Chiefs face a Ravens secondary that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

  • Over his past nine games, Arizona's John Brown has finished as a top-30 fantasy wide receiver in eight games. In five of those nine games, he has finished as a top-15 fantasy receiver. Brown is set up for another big week as the Eagles have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

  • Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall has at least 125 receiving yards in three consecutive games and has scored a touchdown (or two) in six consecutive games. In fact, he has at least 100 yards and/or a touchdown in all but one game this season. On the year, only OBJ, Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins have more fantasy points than Marshall. That said, the Cowboys have done a decent job at limiting fantasy points to opposing receivers (fourth-fewest) this year.

  • Last but not least, Seattle's Doug Baldwin has (unexpectedly) become one of the most dominant fantasy wide receivers in the league. Baldwin has finished as a top-three fantasy receiver in three consecutive games and a top-five performer in four of his past five. During that five-game stretch, he has a total of 30 receptions for 515 yards and nine touchdowns. (In his first eight games, he had a total of only 31/345/2.) The Browns have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season.

Below you find my Week 15 Fantasy Football WR Rankings:

1. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (at JAX)
2. Odell Beckham, New York Giants (vs. CAR)
3. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (at SF)
4. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions (at NO)
5. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. DEN)
6. Brandon Marshall, New York Jets (at DAL)
7. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans (at SEA)
8. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears (at MIN)
9. Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. ATL)
10. Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks (vs. CLE)
11. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (at PIT)
12. Eric Decker, New York Jets (at DAL)
13. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals (at PHI)
14. Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs (at BAL)
15. John Brown, Arizona Cardinals (at PHI)
16. Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills (at WAS)
17. Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins (at SD)
18. Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints (vs. DET)
19. Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. DEN)
20. Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. ATL)
21. Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders (vs. GB)
22. Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals (at PHI)
23. Danny Amendola, New England Patriots (vs. TEN)
24. Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (at NO)
25. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (vs. HOU)
26. Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders (vs. GB)
27. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (at OAK)
28. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys (vs. NYJ)
29. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos (at PIT)
30. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (vs. CLE)
31. Kamar Aiken, Baltimore Ravens (vs. KC)
32. Ted Ginn, Carolina Panthers (at NYG)
33. DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins (vs. BUF)
34. DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins (at SD)
35. Willie Snead, New Orleans Saints (vs. DET)
36. Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers (vs. CIN)
37. Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. ARI)
38. Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals (at SF)
39. Brandon LaFell, New England Patriots (vs. TEN)
40. Travis Benjamin, Cleveland Browns (at SEA)
41. Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts (vs. HOU)
42. Dorial Green-Beckham, Tennessee Titans (at NE)
43. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings (vs. CHI)
44. James Jones, Green Bay Packers (at OAK)
45. Cecil Shorts, Houston Texans (at SEA)
46. Malcom Floyd, San Diego Chargers (vs. MIA)
47. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (at OAK)
48. Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. DEN)
49. Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins (vs. BUF)
50. Nate Washington, Houston Texans (at SEA)

* Note: Bucs/Rams wide receivers have been removed from these rankings.

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December 17, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football: Week 15 Fantasy Running Back Rankings

After missing team curfew and getting only five carries (for four yards) in Week 13, Green Bay's Eddie Lacy bounced back with his best game of the season.

In Sunday's win over the Cowboys, Lacy carried the ball 24 times for 124 yards, both of which were season highs, and a touchdown and he added a 24-yard reception.

With Week 13 being the exception, it was the third time in four games that Lacy has rushed for at least 100 yards.

No running back has more 100-yard rushing games over the past four weeks than Lacy. In fact, only two others have two -- Darren McFadden and Thomas Rawls, who is out for the season with a broken ankle.

In addition, Lacy has the fourth-most rushing yards (333) during that span after Doug Martin (508), Rawls (435) and LeSean McCoy (338).

The matchup against the Raiders isn't great as they have allowed 2.92 yards per carry to opposing running backs over the past four weeks. In fact, no running back has more than 44 rushing yards against them over that stretch. Then again, they haven't faced the who's who of backs over that span, either -- Lions, Titans, Chiefs and Broncos.

In their previous two games, they allowed monster performances to DeAngelo Williams (225 YFS and two TDs) in Week 9 and Adrian Peterson (216 YFS and a TD) in Week 10.

Barring any curfew-related punishments, Lacy should finish this week as a top-10 running back once again.

DeAngelo Williams: 133.4 YFS/G, 1.0 TD/G over past 5G

Since taking over as the starter for the injured Le'Veon Bell, few running backs have been better than Pittsburgh's DeAngelo Williams.

During that five-game span, he has scored more than 14 fantasy points in four games and finished as a top-four weekly fantasy running back in three of those five games.

In those five games, Williams has a total of 101 carries for 463 yards and five touchdowns plus 17 catches for 204 yards.

Only two running backs have more yards from scrimmage than Williams (667): LeSean McCoy (723) and Adrian Peterson (717). But both backs played six games while the Steelers had their bye during that span.

If you include the first two games of the season when Bell was suspended, Williams has finished as a top-15 fantasy running back in six of seven games as a starter.

The Broncos have allowed only one 100-yard rusher (Jamaal Charles, Week 2) this season, but they have allowed seven touchdowns to running backs over their past seven games.

Given the volume that Williams should see, Williams should exceed 100 YFS and there's a better chance than not that he finds the end zone on Sunday.

Below you find my Week 15 Fantasy Football RB Rankings:

1. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (vs. CHI)
2. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills (at WAS)
3. DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. DEN)
4. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at STL)
5. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (at PHI)
6. Chris Ivory, New York Jets (at DAL)
7. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers (at OAK)
8. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears (at MIN)
9. Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins (at SD)
10. Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams (vs. TB)
11. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons (at JAX)
12. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (at SF)
13. Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders (vs. GB)
14. Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys (vs. NYJ)
15. Denard Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. ATL)
16. Tim Hightower, New Orleans Saints (vs. DET)
17. Shaun Draughn, San Francisco 49ers (vs. CIN)
18. Javorius Allen, Baltimore Ravens (vs. KC)
19. Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs (at BAL)
20. Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts (vs. HOU)
21. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (at SF)
22. Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos (at PIT)
23. Matt Jones, Washington Redskins (vs. BUF)
24. James White, New England Patriots (vs. TEN)
25. Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears (at MIN)
26. Ryan Mathews, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. ARI)
27. Bryce Brown, Seattle Seahawks (vs. CLE)
28. Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions (at NO)
29. Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots (vs. TEN)
30. C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (at PIT)
31. James Starks, Green Bay Packers (at OAK)
32. Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. ARI)
33. Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers (vs. MIA)
34. Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions (at NO)
35. Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs (at BAL)
36. Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers (vs. MIA)
37. Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at STL)
38. DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. ARI)
39. Chris Polk, Houston Texans (at SEA)
40. Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns (at SEA)
41. Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (at SEA)
42. Fozzy Whittaker, Carolina Panthers (at NYG)
43. Fred Jackson, Seattle Seahawks (vs. CLE)
44. Cameron Artis-Payne, Carolina Panthers (at NYG)
45. Mike Tolbert, Carolina Panthers (at NYG)
46. Bilal Powell, New York Jets (at DAL)
47. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (vs. BUF)
48. Antonio Andrews, Tennessee Titans (at NE)
49. Joique Bell, Detroit Lions (at NO)
50. Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (vs. CAR)

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December 16, 2015

DFS Roundtable: Favorite DraftKings Play for Week 15

Every week this season, our contributors will give their favorite plays for the week in DraftKings contests.

Q: Who is your favorite DraftKings play for Week 15?

Sean Beazley - Jeremy Maclin, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (at BAL), $5,500

There is no elite value popping out at me right now, so I feel this week it might be the best approach for a balanced lineup. There are a number of options between $4,500-$6,500 where I believe you can put up 20-plus points. One of those plays is Chiefs WR Jeremy Maclin.

Maclin comes in at a very reasonable price at $5,500 and draws a great matchup vs. the Ravens, who just got torched by Russell Wilson and the Seahawks last week. Maclin has averaged 10 targets over his past three games, hauling in 24 catches during this time. I believe Maclin has a field day vs. the Ravens this week and finishes north of 20 DK points.

Kevin Hanson - John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals (at PHI), $4,900

Brown has been consistent with 14-plus fantasy points in eight of nine games; the exception was Week 10 when he was a game-time decision against the Seahawks due to his hamstring. Since Week 3, Brown has averaged 4.6 catches for 80.4 yards per game. Based on DK scoring, no team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than the Eagles.

With a sub-$5,000 salary, Brown should easily exceed value in Week 15. Given his matchup, consistency and price, he's a safe play in cash games. And with the speed to get behind the Eagles secondary for a big play or two, Brown has plenty of upside for GPPs.

Brendan Donahue - Lamar Miller, RB, Miami Dolphins (at SD), $6,300

Coming off of a two-TD game on only 12 carries (it is a bit of a mystery why he only got 12 carries), Miller now goes up against the Chargers, who have given up the fifth-most points to opposing RBs and he should be relatively fresh. You can see the talent when Miller gets the ball as he averaged 7.4 yards per carry last week on just 12 carries. And the week before when they consistently gave him the ball, he rushed for 113 yards on 20 carries. I have him ranked second this week among running backs, but he is only $6,300 this week and should easily outproduce his salary.

Ryan Watterson - James White, RB, New England Patriots (vs. TEN), $4,600

With LeGarrette Blount out for the season, White should step into a larger role. His usage has seen an increase the past few weeks as the passing-down back, but he should now see more carries as well. Against a Titans defense that is near the bottom of the league against the run, and with White's growing role in the pass game, he has potential to return solid gains on a cheap salary.

Dan Yanotchko - Jeremy Maclin, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (at BAL), $5,500

This week a must-have for me is the Chiefs wideout Jeremy Maclin at $5,500. Maclin has had a great four-game split: 36 targets, 27 receptions, 88 yards per game and three touchdowns. He also gets a great matchup against the Ravens, who give up 248 yards passing on the year and 27 TDs. Just look what Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin did last week, and Maclin is a certain WR1.

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2015 Fantasy Football: Week 15 Fantasy Quarterback Rankings

After a slow start to the season, no quarterback has been hotter than Seattle's Russell Wilson.

In each of his past four games, Wilson has finished as a top-three weekly fantasy quarterback and the top producer in two of those weeks. Not only has Wilson scored a minimum of 25 fantasy points in all four of those games, but he has at least 32 in three consecutive games.

During that four-game streak, Wilson has thrown 16 touchdowns and no interceptions and averaged 292.75 passing yards per game. In addition, he has 101 rushing yards and a rushing score over that stretch as well.

Through Week 10, he had just 10 touchdowns to seven interceptions and had averaged only 15.8 fantasy points per game. In fact, he had just two top-12 weekly outings in those first nine games: QB9 in Week 2 and QB11 in Week 10.

Heading into Week 15, Wilson has scored the fifth-most fantasy points among quarterbacks. In addition, he is only 1.36 fantasy points behind QB3 (Carson Palmer).

With a fantasy-friendly matchup, Wilson is set up for another strong outing. The Browns have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

Carson Palmer: 300+ Yards and/or 2+ TDs in 12 of 13G

As noted above, Arizona's Carson Palmer ranks third in fantasy points scored this season.

With 4,003 passing yards and 31 passing touchdowns, Palmer is likely to exceed his all-time career highs on Sunday. His previous career highs are 4,278 yards and 32 touchdowns.

Palmer's consistency has been remarkable.

Finishing no worse than QB17 in any week this season, Palmer has scored a minimum of 15.98 fantasy points in all 13 games. In addition, he has 300-plus yards and/or multiple touchdowns in 12 of 13 games this year.

Only the Saints and Jaguars have allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

Over their past six games combined, the Eagles have allowed 20 touchdowns -- 19 passing and one rushing -- to opposing quarterbacks. In addition, they have allowed 29-plus fantasy points in three of their past four games.

Below you find my Week 15 Fantasy Football QB Rankings:

1. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (vs. CLE)
2. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (at NYG)
3. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (at PHI)
4. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (vs. TEN)
5. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (at OAK)
6. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (at NO)
7. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (vs. DET)
8. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. ATL)
9. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. DEN)
10. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (at WAS)
11. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (vs. GB)
12. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans (at NE)
13. Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (at DAL)
14. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (at BAL)
15. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (at JAX)
16. Eli Manning, New York Giants (vs. CAR)
17. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (vs. MIA)
18. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears (at MIN)
19. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (at SD)
20. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (vs. BUF)
21. A.J. McCarron, Cincinnati Bengals (at SF)
22. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at STL)
23. Brock Osweiler, Denver Broncos (at PIT)
24. Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns (at SEA)
25. Blaine Gabbert, San Francisco 49ers (vs. CIN)

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December 13, 2015

2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 14 (Yanotchko)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 14 of the 2015 NFL season:

Detroit Lions -3 over St. Louis Rams (3 units)

This game is a contest of two teams that had very high aspirations at the start of the year, but they both have had quite the disappointing year. The Lions come into this game on the heels of possibly one of the worse losses ever, as they got beat by a Hail Mary on an untimed down after a questionable call.

The Rams have just been flat over the last five games, as they have lost everyone of them, and they haven't put up more than 18 points as well. I think the Lions defense is starting to come together, and they will be able to contain Rams running back Todd Gurley as they only allow 3.9 yards per carry per game.

Also Matthew Stafford has been coming alive as of late, and he will be able to attack a Rams passing defense that allows a 69-percent completion rate to opposing quarterbacks. I am looking for Stafford to have a big day throwing to Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, and I will lay the three points here.

Tennessee Titans +7 over New York Jets (3 units)

The Jets are on the cusp of the playoffs, and they can certainly take a huge step forward with a big win against the Titans on Sunday. While the Titans have struggled for much of the year, there is great hope of the future with rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota showing signs of being a solid NFL starter. While I believe that the Jets are a much better team, this game will still come down to certain matchups, and what most don't realize is that the Titans have a very strong pass defense. We are even including last week's shootout with Jacksonville, the Titans only allow 231 yards passing per game, and they get excellent QB pressure with 34 sacks. While I still think that the Jets are going to win this one, I believe that the Titans will be able to keep it close, and I will take the 7 points here.

New England Patriots -4.5 over Houston Texans (4 units)

The Patriots have certainly struggled as of last, as they have lost two in a row, and also last week in one of the most surprising fashions by giving up 21 points on defense and special team touchdowns. The Texans were left for dead after starting 1-4, but have managed to climb back in to the AFC South race, as the defense has gotten on track.

New England has not been themselves on offense, as they are missing Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola has been slowed by injury as well. This will be a week where Tom Brady will right the ship, as I love his match up going against a Texans secondary that has given up 242 yards passing and 36 touchdowns on the year.

The Patriots have not lost three games in a row since the 2002 season, and while J.J. Watt, has been other worldly the last few weeks, he will go into this game with a broken hand. I look for the Patriots to have a tight contest for most of the game, but will pull away in the end.

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 14 (Hanson)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 14 of the 2015 NFL season:

New England Patriots -4.5 over Houston Texans (3 units)

After opening the season with 10 consecutive wins, the Patriots have lost back-to-back games to the Broncos and Eagles. Whether New England has All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski (questionable) tonight or not, it's unlikely that Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots lose a third consecutive game.

Especially with Gronk, the Patriots offense should put up plenty of points even if the offensive line has to contend with J.J. Watt. On the other hand, the Patriots typically do a great job of taking away their opponent's best player. With Arian Foster on IR, other than DeAndre Hopkins, who scares you?

Exactly. I'll take the Pats on the road to bounce back.

Seattle Seahawks -12 over Baltimore Ravens (3 units)

It's rare that a quarterback starts a game for two different teams, let alone face the same opponent, but that is what is happening for Jimmy Clausen. Earlier this season, Clausen faced the Seahawks as a member of the Bears, but Seattle is starting to look more like the Seahawks of late.

In a couple of games since Justin Forsett was injured, rookie Javorius Allen has played well, but the Ravens have suffered way too many injuries this season. With what little fire power they have left on offense, they will also be without another weapon (Crockett Gillmore) this week. In turn, Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin have the passing offense playing well and get to face a vulnerable Ravens secondary today.

I see this game shaping up to be a 31-10 type of game so I don't mind laying the double-digit points.

Note: John Trifone won't be sending writeups for picks, but he provided his picks even though he is away. Here are his picks for this week: Saints +5 (5 units), Jaguars -2 (4 units), Seahawks -12 (3 units) and Giants -2.5 (3 units).

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 14 (Beazley)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 14 of the 2015 NFL season:

Kansas City Chiefs -10.5 over San Diego Chargers (3 units)

The Chargers have been hit with the injury bug pretty hard this season. At this point, I could probably sign and play WR for them this week. To make matters worse, QB Philip Rivers has severe flu-like symptoms. This does not look good for the Chargers. The Chiefs are my favorite defense to target in daily leagues this week. I don't see a way this one is close. Chiefs, 30-13.

Tennessee Titans +7 over New York Jets (3 units)

I'll take the points in this one. The Titans have no running attack, and even if they did, they would have a hard time against this Jets defense. This Jets defense is beatable in the air though, and as crazy as it sounds, that's Tennessee's strength. I think Marcus Mariota will have some success this week.

On the other side of the ball, I expect the Jets to try and use Chris Ivory a little more this week. I think Ivory is sneaky in DFS this week. The Jets win after the Titans collapse in the 4th quarter again. Jets, 24-21.

Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Under 46 (4 units)

This game has a very high total, and rightfully so after their games last week. Neither team could stop anything. I think the Colts will continue to struggle moving the ball this week, and Jacksonville will run a little more to keep the lead. This is one of the games I believe will have the lowest total of the week. Jags win in an ugly contest, 19-17.

Washington Redskins vs. Chicago Bears -- Over 43 (2 units)

This total has been dropping due to the bad weather that will be in effect at game time. Even with the weather being horrible, I think this game hits the over pretty easily. I think both teams will be able to run the ball, and I still think the Bears get Alshon Jeffery 10-plus targets. This is one of those sneaky games of the week I feel. Bears win at home, 38-29.

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December 12, 2015

Week 14 Fantasy Football: Wide Receivers Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Doug Baldwin is listed below as a "start" for Week 14. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 14 with him as one of my starting receivers.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both DeAndre Hopkins, Allen Robinson and Baldwin and started only two receivers, you should start Hopkins and Robinson -- and in turn, bench Baldwin.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 14:

WR - Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks (at BAL)

It's been a remarkable four-game stretch for Baldwin. During that span, he has finished as a top-five fantasy receiver in three of those weeks and has racked up a total of 24/433/6. While he's averaging just 7.75 targets per game over this stretch, he has at least five catches and 60 yards in all four of those games.

Before this hot streak, Baldwin had 36 yards or less in six of eight games. A top-five outing may not be in the cards for Baldwin, but he has a top-five matchup against the Ravens in terms of fantasy points allowed to the position.

WR - Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills (at PHI)

Generally inconsistent, Watkins has had a pair of huge games in a row. Targeted only four times last week, Watkins finished with three catches for 109 yards and a touchdown against the Texans. In Week 12, Watkins had six catches for 158 yards and two scores.

With 100-plus yards and at least one score in three of five games, Watkins gets the league's most favorable matchup for wide receivers in Week 14. In their past five games, the Eagles have surrendered a total of 12 touchdowns to wide receivers.

WR - Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (at CIN)

One of the league's most dangerous big-play receivers, Bryant is averaging more than 20 yards per reception (20.1 Y/A) on the season. (And he averaged 21.1 Y/A last season.) With 655 yards from scrimmage -- 623 receiving and 32 rushing -- and seven touchdowns, Bryant is averaging 93.6 yards and a touchdown per game in his seven games played this season. On paper, the matchup against the Bengals isn't normally a great one, but their secondary is dealing with multiple key injuries.

WR - Eric Decker, New York Jets (vs. TEN)

With the 12th-most fantasy points on the season, Decker has had few big weeks, but he has been remarkably consistent. In fact, he has a minimum of 80 yards and/or a touchdown in every game this season. Therefore, he has yet to score less than 8.1 fantasy points (standard scoring) in any game this season.

Meanwhile, the Titans have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season, which sets up for Decker to have another productive outing.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 14:

WR - Brandon LaFell, New England Patriots (at HOU)

The good news is that LaFell has nine targets in each of his past two games. The bad news is that he has turned those targets into a total of eight catches for 63 yards in those two games. Yet to score a touchdown this season, LaFell has averaged 48.0 yards per game and finished outside of the top-30 weekly fantasy receivers in all but one game (Week 9, WR23). Despite the injuries at the position, LaFell deserves to remain on your bench.

WR - Kamar Aiken, Baltimore Ravens (vs. SEA)

Aiken has at least five receptions in each of his past five games with double-digit targets in three of his past four. During that five-game span, Aiken is averaging a respectable 62.6 yards per game as the team's No. 1 receiver and he has finished as a top-35 receiver in four of those games. Given this week's matchup and the talent (or lack thereof) around him, Aiken isn't anything more than a flex, if that, this week.

WR - Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders (at DEN)

Cooper has had an excellent rookie campaign -- 62/920/4 on 105 targets -- with a quarter of the season to go. Both teammate Michael Crabtree (WR14) and Cooper (WR19) currently rank inside the top-20 fantasy receivers on the year. That said, the Raiders face the league's stingiest pass defense to fantasy wide receivers and Cooper himself had just four catches for 49 yards (although he did score a touchdown) in his first matchup against Denver. For this week, Cooper is ranked just outside of my top-24 fantasy receivers.

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December 11, 2015

Week 14 Fantasy Football: Running Backs Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Shaun Draughn is listed below as a "start" for Week 14. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 14 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you own both LeSean McCoy, Devonta Freeman and Draughn and your league starts two backs, you should start McCoy and Freeman -- and in turn, bench Draughn.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 14:

RB - Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks (at BAL)

Rawls has capitalized on the opportunity created by Marshawn Lynch's injuries this season. In two separate three-game stints with 15-plus carries in each game, Rawls has exceeded 100 rushing yards in four of those six games. In those six games as the primary back, Rawls has 779 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns.

While the way to beat the Ravens is through the air (they allow fourth-fewest fantasy points to RBs), Rawls should still get a large workload and he's been running the ball too well to consider sitting. In fact, he's still ranked inside my top-five fantasy running backs for the week.

RB - Shaun Draughn, San Francisco 49ers (at CLE)

Draughn gained only 36 yards on his 13 carries last week, but he scored his first touchdown of the season and he continues to be a key component of San Francisco's passing game. Draughn has a minimum of 18 touches in four consecutive games and a total of 22 receptions during that four-game span.

While he's averaged 10.13 fantasy points per game in standard-scoring formats, Draughn has been a top-16 (or better) PPR running back in all four of those games. Meanwhile, the Browns have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points (seventh-most in PPR) to opposing running backs this season.

RB - Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. PIT)

Hill has been running the ball well lately. One week after setting a season high with 86 rushing yards on 16 carries, Hill carried the ball a season-high 22 times for 98 yards and a touchdown against the Browns in Week 13. This week's matchup is difficult as the Steelers have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, but Hill has now finished as a top-16 fantasy running back in three consecutive games.

RB - Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers (vs. DAL)

After back-to-back 100-yard games, Lacy was punished for missing curfew ahead of his Thursday Night Football matchup against the Lions. In his few opportunities (five carries and one reception) that night, Lacy had a total of one (yes, just ONE) yard from scrimmage.

Fantasy owners burned last week may be a bit untrusting this week, but comments from coach Mike McCarthy this week are positive. McCarthy said, "I think Eddie's been rejuvenated ... and I look for him to have a very good week of practice, and I look for him to be productive Sunday."

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 14:

RB - DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. BUF)

One week after gaining just 30 yards on 14 carries against the Lions, Murray carried the ball eight times for 24 yards and played on only 14 snaps in Week 13's win over the Patriots. There was a lot of attention given to the frustrations he expressed to the team's owner about his role within the offense, but I'm not sure that leads to a sizable workload this week.

Teammate Ryan Mathews is likely to return from his concussion and he's been productive on a per-touch basis with an average of 5.69 yards per carry on the season. With no more than 11 touches in his past five games, Mathews has scored a touchdown and has finished as a top-20 fantasy running back in four of those five weeks. At a minimum, I'd rather start Mathews over Murray (assuming both are active) this week.

RB - Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers (at KC)

Gordon gained 55 yards on 12 carries last week, but he once again lost a fumble. It was Gordon's sixth fumble, fourth lost, this season. Only Adrian Peterson has more fumbles (seven) this year. Earlier in the season, Gordon had back-to-back games (Week 5 and 6) with lost fumbles and had only seven carries in each of the subsequent games (Week 6 and 7).

It's possible that he sees a reduced workload given last week's lost fumble, and he had just 37 rushing yards on 15 carries (2.47 YPC) against the Chiefs in Week 11. Barely inside the top-50 fantasy running backs this season, now isn't the time to start trusting MG3.

RB - Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (at CHI)

Here is the workload (touches) for Morris since the team's Week 8 bye: four (RB54), 18 (RB18), two (RB72), 24 (RB19) and six (RB76). I suppose he's due for a sizable workload and productive fantasy outing based on his recent pattern, but who knows? Unless you're in a deep league and desperate, there's no reason to take that chance.

RB - Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears (vs. WAS)

Before last week, Langford had finished as the weekly RB6, RB1, RB19 and RB15, respectively. With Matt Forte back for a second week, he dominated touches (26) compared to Langford (14) in Week 13. In 12-team leagues, Langford is more of a flex than an RB2 for Week 14.

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Week 14 Fantasy Football: Quarterbacks Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Jameis Winston is listed below as a "start" for Week 14. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 14 with him as my starting quarterback.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Ben Roethlisberger and Winston, you should start Big Ben -- and in turn, bench Winston.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 14:

QB - Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. NO)

Still available in more than half of Yahoo! leagues (as of Friday morning), Winston, a recommended pickup in my waiver-wire post, is certainly a viable starter in Week 14. With only one game this season with less than 200 passing yards, Winston has averaged 17.26 fantasy points per game and scored at least 12 fantasy points in all 12 games this season.

Based on this weekend's matchup against the Saints, it's possible that Winston has a monster game like he had a few weeks ago against the Eagles (five passing TDs). While not necessarily a very mobile quarterback, Winston has five rushing scores this season including four in his past six games.

Allowing the most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season, the Saints have allowed 317.75 passing yards and 3.5 touchdowns per game over their past eight games. With four of the past five quarterbacks finishing as the weekly QB1 or QB2 in their matchup against the Saints, Winston has legitimate top-three overall upside against the league's worst defense.

QB - Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (at BAL)

In his first nine games this season, Wilson finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback only twice: QB9 (Week 2) and QB11 (Week 10). During that nine-game span, Wilson averaged a very mediocre 15.8 fantasy points per game and threw multiple touchdowns only once.

Since then, however, Wilson has scored a minimum of 25 fantasy points in each game and has finished as the QB3, QB1 and QB3, respectively. During that three-game span, Wilson has an 11:0 TD-to-INT ratio with more touchdowns than than he had in the first nine games combined. With 450 rushing yards this season, Wilson finally scored his first rushing touchdown last Sunday.

Wilson may not extend his streak of top-three weekly finishes, but he's set up for success in Week 14 with a fantasy-friendly matchup. The Ravens have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

QB - Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. IND)

Vastly exceeding preseason expectations, Bortles has scored the seventh-most fantasy points this season and he's coming off his best performance of the season. On Sunday, Bortles threw for 322 yards and five touchdowns and scored 32.78 fantasy points. It was his seventh top-10 weekly finish this season and he gets a top-10 matchup this weekend against the Colts, against whom Bortles threw for 298 yards in Week 4.

[Related: No QB has a more favorable fantasy playoffs strength of schedule.]

QB - Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (at PHI)

Taylor completed only 11 pass attempts on Sunday, but he threw for 211 yards and three touchdowns and added 28 rushing yards and a fourth touchdown against the Texans. With three passing touchdowns in back-to-back games, Taylor has scored at least 26.24 fantasy points in each of those games. Due to his dual-threat abilities, Taylor has a solid floor and plenty of upside. On the season, he has 63 rush attempts for 318 yards and three touchdowns.

Perhaps he won't score 26-plus fantasy points for a third consecutive game, but Taylor is set up for the success to continue in Week 14. Only Winston has a more favorable matchup as the Eagles have allowed the second-most fantasy points this season. In fact, the Eagles pass defense has surrendered a total of 18 passing touchdowns in their past five games alone.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 14:

QB - Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (at CAR)

Despite missing no games this season, Ryan has scored only the 20th-most fantasy points this season. The yardage has been there as he ranks fifth in the NFL in passing yards (3,481), but he is tied with Kirk Cousins with the fewest passing touchdowns (17) among 3,000-yard passers so far this season. In addition, he's tied with Bortles for the most interceptions thrown (13) within that same group.

Making matters worse, Ryan has to face the Panthers this week (and in Week 16 as well). The Panthers have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

QB - Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (at KC)

Earlier in the season, Rivers finished as a top-10 weekly quarterback in five consecutive games. Since then, however, he has finished as the QB19, QB27, QB4 and QB29, respectively. And in two of his past three games, he has scored 6.08 fantasy points or less. In fact, the QB27 game was against the Chiefs, this week's opponent. With plenty of favorable matchups for guys like Winston, Taylor, etc., it's certainly possible, if not likely, that Rivers once again finishes outside of the top-12 weekly performers.

QB - Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (at STL)

After a slow five-game start to the season, Stafford has been much better. During that seven-game span, he has finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback four times and a top-six fantasy quarterback three times. Over that stretch, Stafford has averaged 279.86 yards per game with 16 passing touchdowns to only four interceptions.

The matchup for Stafford isn't great this weekend, however. The Rams have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks on the year. With the exception of Jay Cutler (Week 10, QB3), they haven't allowed any other top-12 weekly producers this season. That said, they have been more vulnerable lately with their three worst games all happening over the past four weeks: Cutler (24.72 fantasy points), Andy Dalton (19.72 in Week 12) and Carson Palmer (22.24 last week).

QB - Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (at DEN)

Carr has thrown multiple touchdowns in six of his past seven games, but he has been less consistent with two duds in his past three games. Against the Lions in Week 11, Carr threw for 169 yards and no touchdowns. Last week, he threw three interceptions against the Chiefs.

Facing the league's stingiest defense to opposing signal-callers doesn't bode well for Carr's fantasy success. In his first matchup with the Broncos (Week 5), Carr threw for 249 yards and a score but committed two turnovers and finished with only 9.86 fantasy points.

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December 10, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football: Week 14 Fantasy Tight End Rankings

It's a dream matchup for Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins this weekend.

Not only have the Saints allowed the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, but they have allowed a tight end to score double-digit fantasy points in four consecutive games. In fact, they have allowed five tight ends to finish as a top-eight weekly fantasy tight end in those four games.

During that span, the Saints have allowed 34 catches for 444 yards and six touchdowns to the position.

After a prolonged absence, Seferian-Jenkins returned to the field last week against the Falcons and played only 21 of the team's 71 offensive snaps. And while he finished with only three catches for 31 yards, he was targeted six times on his 21 snaps. Going forward, ASJ should play more offensive snaps.

Facing the worst defense in the league means that the Buccaneers are projected to be one of the top-scoring teams this weekend based on Vegas odds.

If he gets more than six targets this week, it wouldn't surprise me if he finished as a top-10 fantasy tight end for the week.

Below you find my Week 14 Fantasy Football TE Rankings:

1. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers (vs. ATL)
2. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. SD)
3. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. PIT)
4. Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans (at NYJ)
5. Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins (at CHI)
6. Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. IND)
7. Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns (vs. SF)
8. Scott Chandler, New England Patriots (at HOU)
9. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. NO)
10. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers (at KC)
11. Richard Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (vs. DAL)
12. Ben Watson, New Orleans Saints (at TB)
13. Zach Miller, Chicago Bears (vs. WAS)
14. Jacob Tamme, Atlanta Falcons (at CAR)
15. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys (at GB)
16. Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills (at PHI)
17. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings (at ARI)
18. Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions (at STL)
19. Will Tye, New York Giants (at MIA)
20. Crockett Gillmore, Baltimore Ravens (vs. SEA)

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December 09, 2015

DFS Roundtable: Favorite DraftKings Play for Week 14

Every week this season, our contributors will give their favorite plays for the week in DraftKings contests.

Q: Who is your favorite DraftKings play for Week 14?

Brendan Donahue - Danny Amendola, WR, New England Patriots (at HOU), $5,200

Since Julian Edelman has gone down in Week 10, Amendola has filled the role admirably. Looking at the numbers more closely, he has taken over right where Edelman left off. In those three games, he has 26 catches on 36 targets and has amassed 258 yards and a TD. With Edelman and most likely Rob Gronkowski out again, look for Amendola to once again be Tom Brady's primary target this week and get you great value on Draftkings.

Kevin Hanson - David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals (vs. MIN), $4,300

As the team's featured back last week, Johnson gained 99 yards on 22 carries and added two catches for 21 yards and a touchdown in last week's win over the Rams. This week, the Cardinals are favored by nearly double digits as they host a Vikings team that has already ruled out four defensive starters.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals will be without Andre Ellington for another week, which means another heavy workload for Johnson this week. With a touchdown in three consecutive games, Johnson has scored a total of nine touchdowns -- four rushing, four receiving and one return -- despite limited touches (78) this season. Ranked inside my top-10 running backs for the week, Johnson should easily reach value for those that play in Thursday contests this week.

Ryan Watterson - Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. NO), $5,500

Going with the trend of QBs playing the Saints defense. Winston has improved throughout the season and has had a few games that show his potential. Against the worst pass defense in the league, Winston should have a big game and allow you to spend elsewhere. Pairing him with Mike Evans is my favorite stack this week.

Dan Yanotchko - Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks (at BAL), $4,500

This week, I am liking Doug Baldwin of the Seahawks who is on a tear lately. Baldwin has benefitted hugely from Jimmy Graham's injury, as he has compiled a four-game split of 24 receptions, 443 yards and six TDs. Combine this with a favorable Baltimore matchup that has given up 244 yards passing and 22 touchdowns on the year with only four picks. I really like his value at $4,500, and he has been targeted 31 times over the last four as well.

Sean Beazley - LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills (at PHI), $6,100

When I build my lineups each week, I take into consideration a lot of different things. One of those things are narratives. Some DFS players are big into narratives and some are more analytical and just play the best numbers. This week we probably have one of the biggest narratives of the year and that's the LeSean McCoy revenge game.

McCoy was traded to Buffalo in the offseason, and in a nutshell called Chip Kelly a racist. McCoy doesn't have the best matchup in the world vs. an Eagles D which is more easily beaten through the air, but at $6,100 I think he easily pays off that price this week. There is one thing that is certain, and that's Rex Ryan is a player's coach. I believe he will give Shady plenty of opportunity to prove Chip Kelly wrong.

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Michael Crabtree, Raiders agree to 4-year extension

The Oakland Raiders and wide receiver Michael Crabtree have agreed to a four-year extension, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

According to Rapoport, the deal is worth $35 million, of which nearly $19 million is guaranteed.

Crabtree and rookie Amari Cooper have given second-year quarterback Derek Carr one of the more productive wide receiver duos in the league this year.

Going into Week 13, Crabtree has scored the 14th-most fantasy points in both standard- and PPR-scoring formats and he has a total of 66 catches for 760 yards and seven touchdowns.

On pace for 1,013 yards, Crabtree and Cooper could give the Raiders a pair of 1,000-yard receivers for the first time since Jerry Rice and Tim Brown did so in 2001. Either way, the Raiders haven't had a 1,000-yard receiver since Randy Moss (2005).

Both Crabtree and Cooper have a difficult matchup in Week 14 as the Broncos have allowed the fewest fantasy points to the position this season.

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2015 Fantasy Football: Week 14 Fantasy Wide Receiver Rankings

With 10 catches for 153 yards and three touchdowns this week against the Titans, Jaguars second-year receiver Allen Robinson became the third player in franchise history to reach the 1,000-yard milestone and the first to do so since 2005.

Scoring the fourth-most fantasy points among wide receivers entering the season's final quarter, Robinson now has a total of 65 receptions for 1,080 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season.

Just as impressive as his overall numbers, Robinson has been incredibly consistent this season. Robinson has scored at least 11 fantasy points standard-scoring (and 16-plus in PPR) formats in eight consecutive games.

Robinson and the Jaguars receivers will face the Colts this week.

So far this season, the Colts have allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. The first time Robinson faced the Colts this season, he finished with four catches for 80 yards on 12 targets.

Here are some more fantasy football notes on wide receivers:

  • With a stat line of 5/128/1 against the Browns last week, Bengals receiver A.J. Green extended his streak to five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons to begin his NFL career. Green now has a total of 70 catches for 1,037 yards and seven touchdowns on the season. Green and the Bengals will face the Steelers, who have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

  • With Rishard Matthews (ribs) sidelined last week, Dolphins rookie DeVante Parker had another productive outing on Sunday. Following up a 4/80/1 performance against the Jets in Week 12, Parker had three catches for 63 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against the Ravens. In their past five games, the Giants have allowed 19 total touchdowns to wide receivers and four 100-yard receivers.

  • Extending his streak of 100-yard games to five, Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. finished with a 6/149/1 stat line against the Jets on Sunday. Not only does that tie a franchise record, but OBJ has two of the three four-game streaks in club history. On the year, OBJ has a total of 78 receptions for 1,154 yards and 10 touchdowns. Beckham will look to extend the streak to six games against the Dolphins, who have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season.

  • Generally inconsistent, Buffalo's Sammy Watkins has had two huge games in a row. While he was only targeted four times, Watkins finished with three catches for 109 yards and a touchdown against the Texans. In Week 12, Watkins had six catches for 158 yards and two scores. With 100-plus yards and at least one score in three of five games, Watkins gets the league's most favorable matchup for wide receivers in Week 14.

  • It's been a remarkable four-game stretch for Seattle's Doug Baldwin. During that span, he has finished as a top-five fantasy receiver in three weeks and has racked up a total of 24/433/6. Before this hot streak, Baldwin had 36 yards or less in six of eight games. A top-five outing may not be in the cards for Baldwin, but he has a top-five matchup against the Ravens in terms of fantasy points allowed to the position.

Below you find my Week 14 Fantasy Football WR Rankings:

1. Odell Beckham, New York Giants (at MIA)
2. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers (at CIN)
3. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans (vs. NE)
4. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. PIT)
5. Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. IND)
6. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions (at STL)
7. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (at CAR)
8. Brandon Marshall, New York Jets (vs. TEN)
9. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears (vs. WAS)
10. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. NO)
11. Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (at CIN)
12. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (vs. OAK)
13. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals (vs. MIN)
14. Eric Decker, New York Jets (vs. TEN)
15. Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints (at TB)
16. Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills (at PHI)
17. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys (at GB)
18. Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks (at BAL)
19. Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. SD)
20. Danny Amendola, New England Patriots (at HOU)
21. Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins (vs. NYG)
22. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (at JAX)
23. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos (vs. OAK)
24. DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins (at CHI)
25. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (vs. DAL)
26. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. NO)
27. Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. BUF)
28. John Brown, Arizona Cardinals (vs. MIN)
29. Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. IND)
30. DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins (vs. NYG)
31. Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders (at DEN)
32. Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders (at DEN)
33. Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals (vs. MIN)
34. Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. PIT)
35. Travis Benjamin, Cleveland Browns (vs. SF)
36. Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers (at CLE)
37. Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (at STL)
38. Brian Hartline, Cleveland Browns (vs. SF)
39. Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams (vs. DET)
40. Brandon LaFell, New England Patriots (at HOU)
41. Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts (at JAX)
42. Kamar Aiken, Baltimore Ravens (vs. SEA)
43. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings (at ARI)
44. Dorial Green-Beckham, Tennessee Titans (at NYJ)
45. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (at BAL)
46. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (vs. DAL)
47. Steve Johnson, San Diego Chargers (at KC)
48. Ted Ginn, Carolina Panthers (vs. ATL)
49. James Jones, Green Bay Packers (vs. DAL)
50. Cecil Shorts, Houston Texans (vs. NE)

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2015 Fantasy Football: Week 14 Fantasy Running Back Rankings

Since missing Weeks 4 and 5, Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy has a minimum of 68 rushing yards in seven consecutive games and at least 17 carries in six of those seven.

During that seven-game span, McCoy has averaged 20.43 touches per game and has scored a minimum of 10.4 fantasy points (standard scoring) in every game.

In addition, McCoy has a minimum of 8.6 fantasy points in all 10 games played this season and has yet to finish worse than the weekly RB27. In those 10 games, he has finished as a top-12 fantasy running back six times.

With exactly 112 rushing yards in three of his past five games, McCoy has averaged 97.6 rushing yards per game over that span.

Facing his former team, McCoy will obviously be (extra, if possible) motivated to stick it to Chip Kelly.

The Eagles defense has been extremely generous to fantasy running backs since Week 7.

In those six games, they have allowed three 100-yard rushers including a 235-yard game by Doug Martin and a 100-yard receiving game by Patriots running back James White last week. During that six-game span, they have allowed nine running backs to finish as a weekly top-20 performer.

One (other) running back not so happy with Kelly is the free agent that replaced McCoy: DeMarco Murray, who led the NFL in rushing last season for the Cowboys.

One week after gaining just 30 yards on 14 carries against the Lions, Murray carried the ball eight times for 24 yards and played on 14 snaps in Week 13's win over the Patriots.

After Week 3, Murray had expressed frustration with his workload. Starting in Week 4, Murray had a five-game streak with 20-plus touches. Since then, however, his workload has decreased each week: 17 touches (Week 11), 14 (Week 12) and eight (Week 13).

At this point, I'd feel just as confident starting Ryan Mathews, who appears likely to return from a concussion this week, as I would Murray.

Mathews has been productive on a per-touch basis with an average of 5.69 yards per carry on the season. With no more than 11 touches in his past five games, Mathews has scored a touchdown and has finished as a top-20 fantasy running back in four of those five weeks.

Here are some more fantasy football notes on running backs:

  • Seattle's Thomas Rawls has taken the opportunity created by Marshawn Lynch's injuries this season and made the most of them. In two separate three-game stints with 15-plus carries each game, Rawls has exceeded 100 rushing yards in four of those six games. In those six games as the primary back, Rawls has 779 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns. The Ravens have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, but Rawls remains a clear-cut top-10 fantasy running back even in tough(er) matchups.

  • Baltimore rookie running back Javorius Allen was the top-scoring fantasy running back last week as he rushed for 63 yards on 17 carries and caught 12-of-13 targets for 107 yards and a score. This week's matchup is difficult as the Seahawks have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, but Allen is assured a massive workload (24.0 touches per game over past three), which should at least keep him on the RB2 radar despite the matchup.

  • Cincinnati's Jeremy Hill has been running the ball well lately. One week after setting a season high with 86 rushing yards on 16 carries, Hill carried the ball a season-high 22 times for 98 yards and a touchdown against the Browns in Week 13. This week's matchup is difficult as the Steelers have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, but Hill has now finished as a top-16 fantasy running back in three consecutive games.

  • After back-to-back 100-yard games, Green Bay's Eddie Lacy was punished for missing curfew ahead of his Thursday Night Football matchup against the Lions. In his few opportunities (five carries and one reception) that night, Lacy had a total of one (yes, just ONE) yard from scrimmage. Fantasy owners burned last week may be a bit untrusting this week, but comments from coach Mike McCarthy this week are positive. McCarthy said, "I think Eddie's been rejuvenated ... and I look for him to have a very good week of practice, and I look for him to be productive Sunday."

  • San Francisco's Shaun Draughn gained only 36 yards on his 13 carries last week, but he scored his first touchdown of the season and he continues to be a key part of San Francisco's passing game. Draughn has a minimum of 18 touches in four consecutive games and a total of 22 receptions during that four-game span. While he's averaged 10.13 fantasy points per game in standard-scoring formats, Draughn has been a top-16 (or better) PPR running back in all four of those games.

Below you find my Week 14 Fantasy Football RB Rankings:

1. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. NO)
2. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills (at PHI)
3. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (at ARI)
4. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (vs. ATL)
5. Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks (at BAL)
6. DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers (at CIN)
7. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (vs. MIN)
8. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons (at CAR)
9. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears (vs. WAS)
10. Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins (vs. NYG)
11. Chris Ivory, New York Jets (vs. TEN)
12. Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams (vs. DET)
13. Shaun Draughn, San Francisco 49ers (at CLE)
14. T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. IND)
15. Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys (at GB)
16. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. PIT)
17. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers (vs. DAL)
18. Javorius Allen, Baltimore Ravens (vs. SEA)
19. Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos (vs. OAK)
20. Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders (at DEN)
21. LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots (at HOU)
22. Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts (at JAX)
23. Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. SD)
24. Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. SD)
25. Ryan Mathews, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. BUF)
26. DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. BUF)
27. C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (vs. OAK)
28. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. PIT)
29. Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears (vs. WAS)
30. James White, New England Patriots (at HOU)
31. Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers (at KC)
32. Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions (at STL)
33. James Starks, Green Bay Packers (vs. DAL)
34. Matt Jones, Washington Redskins (at CHI)
35. Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. NO)
36. Antonio Andrews, Tennessee Titans (at NYJ)
37. Tim Hightower, New Orleans Saints (at TB)
38. Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. BUF)
39. Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions (at STL)
40. Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns (vs. SF)
41. Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers (at KC)
42. Alfred Blue, Houston Texans (vs. NE)
43. C.J. Spiller, New Orleans Saints (at TB)
44. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (at CHI)
45. Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (at MIA)
46. Bilal Powell, New York Jets (vs. TEN)
47. Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (vs. SF)
48. Mike Tolbert, Carolina Panthers (vs. ATL)
49. Shane Vereen, New York Giants (at MIA)
50. Chris Polk, Houston Texans (vs. NE)

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2015 Fantasy Football: Week 14 Fantasy Quarterback Rankings

It was a slow start to the season for the Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson.

In his first nine games this season, Wilson finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback only twice: QB9 (Week 2) and QB11 (Week 10). During that nine-game span, Wilson averaged a very mediocre 15.8 fantasy points per game and threw multiple touchdowns only once.

Since then, however, Wilson has been a different, and dominant, fantasy quarterback.

Against the 49ers, Steelers and Vikings, Wilson has scored a minimum of 25 fantasy points in each game and has finished as the QB3, QB1 and QB3, respectively.

During that three-game span, Wilson has an 11:0 TD-to-INT ratio and he threw more touchdowns than than he had in the first nine games combined. And while Wilson has had success running the ball (450 rushing yards), he scored his first rushing touchdown of the season on Sunday.

Wilson may not extend his streak of top-three weekly finishes, but he's set up for success in Week 14 with a favorable matchup. The Ravens have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

Famous Jameis: From Waiver Wire to Starting Lineup

Owned in just 43 percent of Yahoo! leagues as of Wednesday afternoon, Winston, recommended in my waiver-wire post, is certainly a viable starter in Week 14.

Over his past five games, Winston threw five touchdowns against the Eagles in Week 11, but a total of only two touchdowns in his other four games combined. And while he isn't the most mobile of quarterbacks, Winston has five rushing scores this year including four in his past six games.

Winston has averaged 17.26 fantasy points per game on the season and has scored at least 12 fantasy points in all 12 games this season. Yet to throw for 300 yards in any game this season, Winston has thrown at least 200 yards in all but one game this season, which has given him a solid floor to his level of production.

Not only have the Saints allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, but they have allowed nearly five points per game more than the team that has allowed the second-most (Eagles).

In their past eight games, the Saints have allowed 317.75 passing yards and 3.5 touchdowns per game. Over their past six games, they have allowed 29.06 fantasy points per game.

With four of the past five quarterbacks finishing as the weekly QB1 or QB2 in their matchup against the Saints, Winston has legitimate QB1 overall upside against the league's worst defense.

Here are some more fantasy football notes on quarterbacks:

  • Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has thrown for a minimum of 334 yards in each of his past four games. Even though he left one of those games early and came off the bench in another, he has averaged 383.25 yards and thrown a total of 10 touchdowns during that span. The matchup is difficult as the Bengals have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to the position, but if Roethlisberger throws for at least 334 yards once again, he'll become only the second quarterback in NFL history to do so in five straight games.

  • There are only eight quarterbacks in NFL history that have thrown for 334-plus yards in four consecutive games. Big Ben isn't the only to do so this season; San Diego's Philip Rivers has as well. Earlier in the season, Rivers finished as a top-10 weekly quarterback in five consecutive games. Since then, however, he has finished as the QB19, QB27, QB4 and QB29, respectively. And in two of his past three games, he has scored 6.08 fantasy points or less. The QB27 game was against the Chiefs, this week's opponent.

  • Vastly exceeding preseason expectations, Jacksonville's second-year quarterback Blake Bortles has scored the seventh-most fantasy points this season and he's coming off his best performance of the season. On Sunday, Bortles threw for 322 yards and five touchdowns and scored 32.78 fantasy points. It was his seventh top-10 weekly finish this season and he gets a top-10 matchup this weekend against the Colts, against whom Bortles threw for 298 yards in Week 4. [No quarterback has a more favorable fantasy strength of schedule in the fantasy playoffs.]

  • Despite missing no games, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has scored only the 20th-most fantasy points this season. The yardage has been there as he ranks fifth in the NFL in passing yards (3,481), but he is tied with Kirk Cousins with the fewest passing touchdowns (17) among 3,000-yard passers so far this season. In addition, he's tied with Bortles for the most interceptions thrown (13) within that same group. Making matters worse, Ryan has to face the Panthers this week (and in Week 16 as well).

  • Cincinnati's Andy Dalton has been more consistent than he's been in the past with nine top-12 weekly performances in his 12 games played this season. On the year, he has scored the fifth-most fantasy points with 28 touchdowns -- 25 passing and three rushing -- to only six interceptions. One of the three games in which he finished outside of the top-12 weekly quarterbacks, however, was against the Steelers, this week's opponent. Two of Dalton's six picks happened that week, but the Steelers have allowed 300-plus yards in three of their four games since that first matchup.

Below you find my Week 14 Fantasy Football QB Rankings:

1. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (vs. ATL)
2. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (at HOU)
3. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (vs. DAL)
4. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (at BAL)
5. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (at CIN)
6. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (vs. MIN)
7. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (at TB)
8. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. PIT)
9. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. IND)
10. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (at PHI)
11. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. NO)
12. Eli Manning, New York Giants (at MIA)
13. Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (vs. TEN)
14. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (at STL)
15. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans (at NYJ)
16. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. SD)
17. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (vs. NYG)
18. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (at KC)
19. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears (vs. WAS)
20. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (at DEN)
21. Brian Hoyer, Houston Texans (vs. NE)
22. Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns (vs. SF)
23. Brock Osweiler, Denver Broncos (vs. OAK)
24. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (at CAR)
25. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (at CHI)

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2015 Fantasy Football Playoffs (Weeks 14 to 16): TE Strength of Schedule (SOS)

With many fantasy football leagues conducting their playoffs from Weeks 14 to 16, hopefully that means a congratulations is in order if you're reading this.

If you're curious which players have the best, or worst, fantasy schedules during the fantasy postseason, we have done the math for you.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule isn't the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (our Week 14 waiver-wire post), a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie in a close decision.

Five most favorable SOS for TEs (Weeks 14-16):

1. Jacksonville Jaguars (Julius Thomas): 10.13
2. Miami Dolphins (Jordan Cameron): 9.90
3. New Orleans Saints (Benjamin Watson): 9.69
4. Denver Broncos (Vernon Davis, Owen Daniels): 9.49
5. Oakland Raiders (Clive Walford): 9.47

Five least favorable SOS for TEs (Weeks 14-16):

28. Chicago Bears (Zach Miller): 6.82
29. Philadelphia Eagles (Zach Ertz, Brent Celek): 6.82
30. Washington Redskins (Jordan Reed): 6.40
31. Tennessee Titans (Delanie Walker): 5.88
32. Buffalo Bills (Charles Clay): 5.75

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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December 08, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football Playoffs (Weeks 14 to 16): WR Strength of Schedule (SOS)

With many fantasy football leagues conducting their playoffs from Weeks 14 to 16, hopefully that means a congratulations is in order if you're reading this.

If you're curious which players have the best, or worst, fantasy schedules during the fantasy postseason, we have done the math for you.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule isn't the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (our Week 14 waiver-wire post), a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie in a close decision.

Five most favorable SOS for WRs (Weeks 14-16):

1. Houston Texans (DeAndre Hopkins): 25.98
2. San Diego Chargers (Stevie Johnson): 25.52
3. Washington Redskins (DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon): 25.21
4. Kansas City Chiefs (Jeremy Maclin): 24.70
5. New England Patriots (Danny Amendola, Brandon LaFell): 24.58

Five least favorable SOS for WRs (Weeks 14-16):

28. Atlanta Falcons (Julio Jones): 20.93
29. Green Bay Packers (Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, James Jones): 19.94
30. Pittsburgh Steelers (Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant): 19.60
31. Carolina Panthers (Ted Ginn): 18.01
32. Oakland Raiders (Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree): 16.80

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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2015 Fantasy Football: WR Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 14

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short- and/or long-term.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire.

With that said, here are some waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 14 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

WR - DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins (29 percent)

With Rishard Matthews (ribs) sidelined, Parker had another productive outing on Sunday. The first-round rookie out of Louisville followed up a 4/80/1 performance against the Jets in Week 12 with three catches for 63 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against the Ravens.

Parker and the Dolphins face the Giants this week and while the G-Men are middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers, no team allows more passing yards per game than the Giants (315 Y/G). And in their past five games, the Giants have allowed four 100-yard receivers and a 19 total touchdowns to wide receivers.

WR - Dorial Green-Beckham, Tennessee Titans (14 percent)

It was a career-best game for Green-Beckham on Sunday as he finished with five catches for 119 yards and a touchdown. While he may not have any more 100-yard games over the final quarter of the NFL season, DGB should be more involved in the red zone. Last week's touchdown, however, was his first since Week 3.

WR - Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh Steelers (26 percent)

Wheaton followed up a career 201-yard performance with a solid 3/50/1 outing against the Colts on Sunday Night Football. Along with Antonio Brown (8/118/2) and Martavis Bryant (4/114/1), the Steelers top-three receivers all finished inside the top-24 fantasy wideouts for Week 13. Wheaton would have WR3 value this week if Heath Miller (ribs) misses another game.

WR - Brian Hartline, Cleveland Browns (two percent)

Hartline has been quietly productive with three solid outings in a row: 6/77, 8/74 and 8/83. Better in PPR formats, Hartline has finished as a top-30 option in PPR formats in four consecutive games. The Browns receivers have a solid matchup against the 49ers this week and it's possible that they will be without Travis Benjamin, which should keep the targets heading Hartline's way.

WR - Ted Ginn, Carolina Panthers (36 percent)

Ginn has at least eight targets in five of his past six games and he has averaged exactly 8.0 targets per game over that span. While he struggles with drops, Ginn has averaged a tad more than 50 yards per game during that span and he has a total of three touchdowns in his past two games.

WR - Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers (46 percent)

Funchess has only three catches for 32 yards on seven targets in his past two games combined. In addition, Funchess played only one-third (27-of-81) of the team's offensive snaps against the Saints on Sunday. That said, he has now scored a touchdown in three of his past five games.

WR - Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (20 percent)

Lockett set career highs with seven catches and 90 yards in Sunday's win over the Vikings. One of the most dangerous weapons in the open field, Lockett has become more involved in the passing game lately. Over his past six games, Lockett is averaging 3.8 catches for 49.7 yards and 0.5 touchdown per game. Given the nature of the Seahawks offense, however, it's hard to trust anyone other than Doug Baldwin among the team's receivers.

WR - Seth Roberts, Oakland Raiders (four percent)

With Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree clearly ahead of Roberts in the pecking order for targets, Roberts is better in dynasty than re-draft formats, but he's worth a look in deeper seasonal leagues. Roberts had four catches for 51 yards against the Chiefs on Sunday and now has at least 50 yards in three consecutive games and in four of his past five. During that five-game span, he is averaging 59.2 yards per game.

WR - Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans (46 percent)

In a week where Marcus Mariota scored the second-most fantasy points among QBs, it's obviously disappointing for Wright to finish with just three catches for 28 yards on four targets. Even though he has only played nine games this season, Wright has not exceeded 50 receiving yards since Week 3. I'd much rather have DGB than Wright going forward.

- More Fantasy Football Waiver-Wire Advice Heading Into Week 14

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2015 Fantasy Football: RB Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 14

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short- and/or long-term.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire.

With that said, here are some waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 14 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

RB - James White, New England Patriots (26 percent)

In Week 11, White scored 16.6 fantasy points and finished as the weekly RB7 as he scored two touchdowns on only four touches -- two carries for 14 yards and two receptions for 32 yards. After last week's dud (six yards on five touches), White had a season-high 12 touches that included 10 catches (on a team-high 13 targets) for 115 yards and a touchdown.

Given the injuries to Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman, White should have more productive outings down the stretch even if Tom Brady isn't targeting him 13 times per game. Of course, it's difficult to predict touches for New England's backs on week-to-week basis. In addition to the team's injuries, however, drops by their healthy pass-catchers should keep the door open for more consistent usage for White even if doesn't become Dion Lewis, 2.0.

RB - Ryan Mathews, Philadelphia Eagles (47 percent)

Playing only 14 snaps against the Patriots on Sunday, DeMarco Murray has "adressed frustrations" with owner Jeffrey Lurie about his role within Chip Kelly's offense. In his past two games, Murray has 14 carries for 30 yards and eight carries for 24 yards and no receptions in either game.

When Mathews (concussion) returns, likely this week based on his comments today, it's not out of the question that he leads the backfield in touches. Mathews had scored in four of his previous five games played and he has finished as a top-20 weekly fantasy running back in five of his last seven games.

RB - Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions (29 percent)

With the 39th-most fantasy points among running backs in standard-scoring formats, Riddick has the 19th-most in PPR formats. No running back has more receptions than Riddick (55 for 507 yards) and only Danny Woodhead (570) has more receiving yards. Except for Week 1, Riddick has a minimum of three catches in every other game. In addition, he has at least five catches in eight of 12 games this season.

While he's a worthwhile addition in standard leagues, he's a must-add in PPR and half-PPR leagues. No team's backfield has a more favorable fantasy strength of schedule than the Lions in the fantasy postseason (Weeks 14 to 16).

RB - Matt Jones, Washington Redskins (44 percent)

While he only accumulated 55 total yards on his 19 touches against the Cowboys last night, the important thing is the 19 touches. After getting single-digit touches in back-to-back games, that was his second-highest workload since Week 2 (22 touches). Meanwhile, Alfred Morris got only six carries (for 12 yards). While coach Gruden said that Alf's involvement was "just the way the game played out," it's possible that Jones gets a larger share of the workload going forward although there is plenty of risk with either back.

RB - Antonio Andrews, Tennessee Titans (48 percent)

His fantasy playoffs schedule -- Jets, Patriots and Texans -- is far from favorable, but Andrews continues to get double-digit touches every week. Andrews has a minimum of 10 touches in all 10 of his games played this season. With consistent volume, Andrews has finished as a top-24 fantasy running back in four of his past six games. Rookie David Cobb also had 13 carries last week as well, but Andrews was more productive.

RB - Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (28 percent)

Far from spectacular, Sims has at least been very consistent with a top-50 weekly finish in all 12 of his games this season and he has finished as a top-30 back in six of his past 10 games. Averaging roughly 10 touches per game, Sims has scored the 29th-most fantasy points this season. Both Sims and Doug Martin have a top-five schedule down the stretch with matchups against the Saints, Rams and Bears through Week 16.

RB - Bilal Powell, New York Jets (seven percent)

Targeted 13 times on Sunday, Powell finished with eight catches for 91 yards and a score plus six carries for 17 yards. In his past three games, he has nearly as many receptions (15) as carries (16) and he's racked up 232 YFS on his 31 touches over that span. Powell's numbers will typically be better in games where the Jets are playing from behind, like on Sunday, and they are favored by more than a touchdown against the Titans in Week 14.

RB - Chris Polk, Houston Texans (three percent)

Polk rushed for 61 yards on 12 carries and caught an 11-yard touchdown, but it was the first time since Week 4 that he reached four fantasy points in a game. Even though Alfred Blue had only four carries for 14 yards this week, he had 73 touches in his previous four games combined. Polk is worth a look in deep leagues, but I'd much rather have Blue over Polk going forward.

RB - Dan Herron, Indianapolis Colts (11 percent)

In his first game back with the Colts, Herron gained just 24 yards on five touches -- two carries and three receptions. As the backup to Frank Gore, recently described as being "beat to crap" by coach Chuck Pagano, Herron could be in line for significant workloads if something were to happen to Gore. Either way, he should approach eight or so touches per game down the stretch even if Gore remains healthy.

RB - Robert Turbin, Dallas Cowboys (seven percent)

One of the players that has been a pleasant surprise for Dallas (minus two lost fumbles last night) has been Darren McFadden, who has amassed 166 touches in his past seven games. Given his durability track record and massive workload, it's far to question McFadden's ability to hold up down the stretch. If he can't, Turbin would likely be in line for huge workloads behind the Cowboys' talented offensive line.

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2015 Fantasy Football Playoffs (Weeks 14 to 16): RB Strength of Schedule (SOS)

With many fantasy football leagues conducting their playoffs from Weeks 14 to 16, hopefully that means a congratulations is in order if you're reading this.

If you're curious which players have the best, or worst, fantasy schedules during the fantasy postseason, we have done the math for you.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule isn't the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (our Week 14 waiver-wire post), a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie in a close decision.

Five most favorable SOS for RBs (Weeks 14-16):

1. Detroit Lions (Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick): 22.12
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (T.J. Yeldon): 21.86
3. Carolina Panthers (Jonathan Stewart): 21.76
4. Miami Dolphins (Lamar Miller): 20.61
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Doug Martin, Charles Sims): 20.45

Five least favorable SOS for RBs (Weeks 14-16):

28. Pittsburgh Steelers (DeAngelo Williams): 16.15
29. Denver Broncos (Ronnie Hillman, C.J. Anderson): 15.97
30. St. Louis Rams (Todd Gurley): 15.62
31. New England Patriots (LeGarrette Blount, James White): 15.61
32. Baltimore Ravens (Javorius Allen): 13.55

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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2015 Fantasy Football Playoffs (Weeks 14 to 16): QB Strength of Schedule (SOS)

With many fantasy football leagues conducting their playoffs from Weeks 14 to 16, hopefully that means a congratulations is in order if you're reading this.

If you're curious which players have the best, or worst, fantasy schedules during the fantasy postseason, we have done the math for you.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule isn't the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (our Week 14 waiver-wire post), a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie in a close decision.

Five most favorable SOS for QBs (Weeks 14-16):

1. Jacksonville Jaguars (Blake Bortles): 19.15
T2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Jameis Winston): 19.14
T2. New Orleans Saints (Drew Brees): 19.14
4. Detroit Lions (Matthew Stafford): 19.13
5. Indianapolis Colts (Matt Hasselbeck, Andrew Luck): 18.80

Five least favorable SOS for QBs (Weeks 14-16):

28. Carolina Panthers (Cam Newton): 15.82
29. Cleveland Browns (Johnny Manziel, Austin Davis): 15.82
30. Cincinnati Bengals (Andy Dalton): 15.53
31. Oakland Raiders (Derek Carr): 15.01
32. Pittsburgh Steelers (Ben Roethlisberger): 14.62

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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2015 Fantasy Football: QB Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 14

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short- and/or long-term.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire.

With that said, here are some waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 14 and the fantasy playoffs (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

QB - Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans (44 percent)

In a 42-39 shootout with the Jaguars, Mariota completed 20 of 29 pass attempts for 268 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday. It was the second consecutive game in which Mariota has thrown for three scores and he now has six games (out of 10) with multiple passing touchdowns this season.

But it was Mariota's dual-threat abilities that made Sunday his best fantasy performance of the season. Going into this week's game, Mariota had only 137 total rushing yards, but he had nearly as much against the Jags. Mariota rushed nine times for 112 yards and a score to finish with a season-high 35.92 fantasy points.

Mariota now has a minimum of 18 fantasy points in three consecutive games and in four of his past five. During that five-game span, he has a pair of games with at least 33 fantasy points. His fantasy playoff schedule (NYJ, NE and HOU) isn't great, but Mariota has been playing well and he has tremendous upside especially if he begins to run more often.

QB - Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (35 percent)

Taylor completed only 11 pass attempts on Sunday, but he threw for 211 yards and three touchdowns and added 28 rushing yards and a fourth touchdown against the Texans. With three passing touchdowns in back-to-back games, Taylor has scored at least 26.24 fantasy points in each of those games. Due to his dual-threat abilities, Taylor has a solid floor and plenty of upside. On the season, he has 63 rush attempts for 318 yards and three touchdowns.

Perhaps he won't score 26-plus fantasy points for a third consecutive game, but Taylor is set up for the success to continue in Week 14. Only Jameis Winston has a more favorable matchup as the Eagles have allowed the second-most fantasy points this season. The Eagles have allowed a total of 18 passing touchdowns in their past five games alone.

QB - Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (40 percent)

Over his past five games, Winston threw five touchdowns against the Eagles in Week 11, but a total of only two touchdowns in his other four games combined. Yet to throw for 300 yards in any game this season, Winston has thrown for less than 200 yards only once this season. And while he isn't nearly as mobile as the quarterbacks listed above him, Winston has five rushing scores this season including four in his past six games.

On the season, Winston has averaged 17.26 fantasy points per game, which is supported by his consistency. Winston has scored at least 12 fantasy points in all 12 games this season. There may be no better streamer on the waiver wire than Winston, who has the most favorable matchup of the week in Week 14.

Not only have the Saints allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, but they have allowed nearly five points per game more than the team with the second-most. In their past eight games, the Saints have allowed an average of 317.75 passing yards and 3.5 touchdowns per game. Over their past six games, they have allowed 29.06 fantasy points per game.

QB - Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (31 percent)

Throwing for a mere 162 yards on Sunday, Smith still managed to score 24.78 fantasy points (11th-most) this week. Not only did Smith throw for two touchdowns, but he ran for another score. It was the sixth time in 12 games that Smith has finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback this season.

Smith may lack the ceiling of others on this list, but it's rare that he has an awful performance. Smith has finished as the weekly QB19 or better in all but one game. With no turnovers since September (Week 3), Smith's rushing stats (326 yards, 27.17/G) helps to boost his floor.

With the seventh-most favorable fantasy strength of schedule down the stretch, Smith faces the Chargers, Ravens and Browns in Weeks 14 to 16, respectively.

QB - Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (44 percent)

Fitzpatrick has scored 25-plus fantasy points in back-to-back games as he threw for a season-high 390 yards and two touchdowns against the Giants on Sunday. With the 12th-most fantasy points among quarterbacks this season, Fitzpatrick now has accounted for at least two touchdowns in all but one game that he has finished this season. In Week 14, the Jets will face the Titans, who allowed 652 passing yards and eight touchdowns to Derek Carr and Blake Bortles in their past two games combined.

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December 06, 2015

Odell Beckham ties franchise record with 5th consecutive 100-yard game

New York Giants second-year receiver Odell Beckham Jr. entered the week with a four-game streak of games with 100-plus yards.

Extending his streak to five games with 6/149/1 today, Beckham tied a franchise record also held by Homer Jones (1960s).

On the year, OBJ has a total of 78 receptions for 1,154 yards and 10 touchdowns.

There have been only three streaks in franchise history of four-plus games with at least 100 receiving yards and Beckham has two of them.

Last season, OBJ closed the season on a four-game streak with at least 130-plus yards as he racked up a total of 43 catches for 606 yards and seven touchdowns during last year's four-game span.

In addition, Beckham has 100-plus yards in 14 (58.3 percent) of his 24 career games. In those 24 career games, Beckham is averaging a 7.04/102.46/0.92 stat line.

Beckham and the Giants will face the Dolphins next week. Miami has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers heading into this week's games.

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Allen Robinson: 10/153/3 today; 1st Jags WR to reach 1,000-yard milestone since 2005

The last 1,000-yard receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars occurred when Allen Robinson was just 12 years old.

With 10 catches for 153 yards and three touchdowns today against the Titans, Robinson became the third player in Jaguars history to reach the 1,000-yard milestone and the first to do so since Jimmy Smith (2005).

In the process, second-year quarterback Blake Bortles also broke David Garrard's franchise record for most passing touchdowns in a season.

Smith has nine 1,000-yard seasons for Jacksonville and Keenan McCardell has four of them.

With the sixth-most fantasy points among wide receivers entering this week's game, Robinson now has a total of 65 receptions for 1,080 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season.

Just as impressive as his overall numbers, Robinson has been incredibly consistent this season. Robinson has scored at least 11 fantasy points standard-scoring (and 16-plus in PPR) formats in eight consecutive games.

Robinson will face the Colts and Falcons in his next two games, but he gets the Saints in Championship Week (Week 16).

The Colts have allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season. Even if Vontae Davis shadows Robinson, he remains a must-start top-10 fantasy receiver the rest of the way.

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A.J. Green becomes 1st since Randy Moss to start career with five 1,000-yard seasons

Entering 2015, Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J. Green had reached the 1,000-yard milestone in each of his first four NFL seasons.

With a stat line of 5/128/1 against the Browns today, Green extended his streak to five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons to begin his NFL career. Through today's game, Green now has a total of 70 catches for 1,037 yards and seven touchdowns.

Meanwhile, the guy throwing him the ball, Andy Dalton, set a milestone of his own. Dalton became the only quarterback not named Peyton Manning to begin his career with five consecutive 3,000-yard seasons. That said, Cam Newton is on pace to join that club later this season.

The last receiver to begin his career with five 1,000-yard seasons was Randy Moss, who started his career with six consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.

Green also became the 21st NFL receiver to record a streak of five 1,000-yard seasons regardless of when they occurred within a career.

The longest 1,000-yard streak (any time in career) is 11 by Jerry Rice and only four other active NFL receivers have ever done had a streak of five -- Brandon Marshall (seven seasons), Roddy White (six), Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson (both five).

Green and the Bengals will face the Steelers next weekend. Going into Week 13, the Steelers have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

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2015 Fantasy Football: Week 13 Fantasy Quarterback Rankings

Given the relative lack of talent at wide receiver after the season-ending injury to Kelvin Benjamin, few could have imagined the season would go this well for Carolina's Cam Newton.

Not only are the Panthers the lone unbeaten team at 11-0, but the only quarterback to score more fantasy football points through Week 12 than Newton (241.34) is New England's Tom Brady (258.8).

With the help of the team's defense, who returned a pair of Tony Romo interceptions for touchdowns, Newton threw for only 183 yards with no touchdowns on Thanksgiving in Dallas. He did, however, rush for a score.

Before last week's modest fantasy performance, Newton had finished as fantasy's top-scoring quarterback in two of his previous three games and a top-six fantasy quarterback in three consecutive games.

On the season, Newton has four weekly top-three finishes including his first game against the Saints in Week 3. In that game, Newton threw for 315 yards and two touchdowns and added 33 rushing yards for a score as well.

No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season than the Saints. Over their past seven games, the Saints have allowed 315.86 passing yards and 3.29 touchdowns per game. It should be another long day for the Saints defense.

Here are some more fantasy football notes on quarterbacks:

  • As noted above, no quarterback has more fantasy points than Tom Brady this season, but the injuries continue to mount for the Patriots. It appears likely that Brady will get Danny Amendola back this week, but he will be without stud tight end Rob Gronkowski for this week and perhaps/likely longer. With such a favorable matchup this week against the Eagles, who have allowed five passing touchdowns and 45 total points in back-to-back games, Brady and the Patriots offensive machine shouldn't miss a beat this week.

  • There was plenty of confusion about Ben Roethlisberger's placement into the league's concussion protocol, but he is good to go for his Week 13 matchup against the Colts on Sunday Night Football. In his past three games, Big Ben has thrown for 334 yards (vs. OAK), 379 yards (vs. CLE) and 456 yards (at SEA) for an average of 389.67 Y/G.

  • Not only do the Dolphins rank first in the NFL in passing-play percentage (67.56 percent) this season, but they have been even more pass-happy in their past three games (72.32%). With the firing of offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, there should be more run-pass balance going forward, but they best way to exploit this week's matchup is through the air. The Ravens have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. In his past three games, Tannehill has thrown seven touchdowns and only two interceptions.

  • No quarterback has a more favorable fantasy football strength of schedule through Week 16 than Kansas City's Alex Smith. Here are his upcoming opponents: OAK (sixth-most fantasy points allowed to QBs), SD (14th-most), BAL (second-most) and CLE (fifth-most). Not only does Smith have the 14th-most fantasy points through Week 12, but he has finished as a top-19 fantasy quarterback in all but one game this season. It wouldn't surprise me if he finished among the top-12 quarterbacks from Weeks 13 to 16.

  • Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is coming off a season-high four-TD performance against the Dolphins last week. Excluding the game in which he left early, Fitzpatrick has accounted for multiple touchdowns in nine of the 10 games he has finished this season. On the year, he is just behind Smith in terms of fantasy points scored (QB15) and he has a great matchup this week against the Giants, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

Below you find my Week 13 Fantasy Football QB Rankings:

1. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (at NO)
2. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (vs. PHI)
3. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. IND)
4. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (at STL)
5. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (at MIN)
6. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (at CLE)
7. Eli Manning, New York Giants (vs. NYJ)
8. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears (vs. SF)
9. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (vs. CAR)
10. Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (at NYG)
11. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (vs. BAL)
12. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (vs. DEN)
13. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (at TB)
14. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (at TEN)
15. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (vs. KC)
16. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (at OAK)
17. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans (vs. JAX)
18. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. ATL)
19. Brock Osweiler, Denver Broncos (at SD)
20. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (vs. HOU)
21. Matt Hasselbeck, Indianapolis Colts (at PIT)
22. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (vs. DAL)
23. Brian Hoyer, Houston Texans (at BUF)
24. Matt Schaub, Baltimore Ravens (at MIA)
25. Blaine Gabbert, San Francisco 49ers (at CHI)

Note: Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford played on Thursday night so they are removed from these rankings.

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 13 (Hanson)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 13 of the 2015 NFL season:

Kansas City Chiefs -3 over Oakland Raiders (3 units)

Arguably, the Chiefs have been the hottest team in the NFL over the past month or so. Not only have they won five consecutive games, but they have won those five games by an average margin of nearly 20 points per game (19.8/G). Last week's win over the Bills (30-22) was their closest game during that stretch.

During that six-week stretch (five wins and a bye), only the Panthers (17 in six games) have more takeaways than the Chiefs (14 in five games). During that same span, the Chiefs have NOT turned the ball over at all. Every other team has turned the ball over at least three times during that span.

One big concern is the loss of Justin Houston (knee), who will miss this week's game, but I think the good times continue to roll for the Chiefs.

Arizona Cardinals -5 over St. Louis Rams (3 units)

In his past 26 starts, Arizona's Carson Palmer has won 22 games. Not only does the Palmer-led offense rank first in total offense (410.0 YPG), but they rank first in the NFL in scoring offense (32.3 PPG) as well. And even though the Rams have one of the most talented running backs (Todd Gurley), they don't have much else as they rank second to last in both total and scoring offense.

Arizona will be without Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington, but you could argue that David Johnson is an upgrade at running back. Granted, (Chris) Johnson ranks fourth in the NFL in rushing (814 yards), but he has averaged just 2.51 yards per carry in his past three games combined. Despite his limited opportunities, Johnson has scored eight touchdowns -- four rushing, three receiving and one return -- on only 54 touches.

Meanwhile, Gurley rushed for 146 yards in his first matchup against the Cards in Week 4, which began his four-game streak over 100 yards. Since that streak, however, Gurley has rushed for only 219 yards on 70 carries (3.13 YPC) over his past four games. I expect the Cardinals to force someone other than Gurley to beat them on Sunday.

Washington Redskins -4 over Dallas Cowboys (3 units)

As a Cowboys fan, it has been a disappointing season. As Buggin' Out would say, Tony Romo has broken has collar bone two times. As bad as the NFC Least has been, the Cowboys have decided to wait to put Romo on season-ending IR as they currently stand only two games out of first place at 3-8.

On the other hand, Washington is in first place despite having a losing record (5-6). They have certainly been inconsistent and they have their share of holes, but they have been playing reasonably well lately. In addition, they have been tough to beat at home. They are 5-1 straight up at home and 0-5 on the road.

Perhaps one positive is that Matt Cassel has already had an opportunity to play in this offense and the team had an extended break since their loss to the Panthers. (Of course, the negative is that he's Matt Cassel.) Washington has had the Cowboys number as they have covered 15 of their past 20 against Dallas and the Cowboys are 1-9 ATS on Monday Night Football.

- Note: We will track all of our 2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread here.

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Week 13 Fantasy Football: Tight Ends Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Jacob Tamme is listed below as a "start" for Week 13. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 13 with him as my starting tight end.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Greg Olsen and Tamme, you should start Olsen -- and in turn, bench Tamme.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 13:

TE - Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars (at TEN)

From Weeks 7 to 11, Thomas had a total of just 69 receiving yards, but he exploded for a 9/116/1 stat line on 10 targets against the Chargers in Week 12. And even though he had just 28 yards in Week 11, he now has a touchdown, eight-plus targets and a top-10 weekly finish in consecutive games.

With Allen Hurns (concussion) ruled out for Week 13, Thomas and Allen Robinson should both see plenty of targets on Sunday. The Titans have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.

TE - Scott Chandler, New England Patriots (vs. PHI)

With Rob Gronkowski (knee) ruled out for Week 13 and potentially longer, Chandler takes over as the primary pass-catching tight end in the Patriots high-scoring offense. Targeted by Tom Brady 11 times in Week 12, Chandler finished with five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown. While the matchup is better for the team's receivers than Chandler, the Eagles have allowed a total of 10 passing touchdowns and 90 points in their past two games.

TE - Ben Watson, New Orleans Saints (vs. CAR)

With the eighth-most fantasy points among tight ends this season, Watson has been quiet over his past three games: 5/60 (TE18), 3/19 (TE36) and 4/53 (TE22). That said, Watson has a minimum of five targets in seven consecutive games and an average of 7.29/G over that stretch. In addition, Watson has exceeded 50 receiving yards in five of six games with an average of 77.5/G during that span.

TE - Jacob Tamme, Atlanta Falcons (at TB)

With Leonard Hankerson placed on Injured Reserve, Tamme should remain a prominent player in Atlanta's passing attack. Tamme has at least five catches and more than 60 yards in three of his past four games. During that four-game span, he has a total of 22 catches for 249 yards and a touchdown on 31 targets.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 13:

TE - Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills (vs. HOU)

Clay had three top-12 weekly outings in his first four games, but none since then. Since Week 5, his average weekly finish among fantasy tight ends is TE28 and he has averaged 2.83 fantasy points per game over that span. The outlook for Clay does not improve much this week either as the Texans have allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends in 2015.

TE - Jordan Cameron, Miami Dolphins (vs. BAL)

Against the Jets on Sunday, Cameron had two catches for 13 yards on three targets. Unfortunately for Cameron and his fantasy owners, it was just another typical day for Cameron. Cameron now has 34 yards or less in every game since Week 3 and he has two or fewer catches in six consecutive games. In a tough matchup against the Ravens, who have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends, Cameron should remain on your bench or league's waiver wire.

TE - Vernon Davis, Denver Broncos (at SD)

The matchup is favorable as the Chargers have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, but it's hard to trust that Davis can take exploit it. There was at least some optimism when he was traded to the Broncos, but he has done virtually nothing in Denver. Since being acquired by the Broncos, Davis has a total of 10 catches for 97 yards and no touchdowns in four games.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 13

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Week 13 Fantasy Football: Wide Receivers Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Eric Decker is listed below as a "start" for Week 13. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 13 with him as one of my starting receivers.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Julio Jones, Allen Robinson and Decker and started just two receivers, you should start Jones and Robinson -- and in turn, bench Decker.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 13:

WR - Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. IND)

Bryant extended his streak of games with a touchdown to three games with a score against the Seahawks and now has six touchdowns in six games this season. A big play waiting to happen, the second-year receiver is averaging 18.85 Y/A and he also has the NFL's longest reception both this season (94 yards) and last season (88).

Despite playing only one full game in his past three games, Ben Roethlisberger has averaged 389.67 passing yards per game over that stretch. In fact, the Steelers have the most passing yards (1,281, 427.0/G) in the NFL over a four-week stretch (Weeks 9 to 12) despite having their bye in Week 11.

The Colts have allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. In addition, the Steelers are projected to score the third-most points this week based on Vegas odds.

WR - Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins (vs. BAL)

Landry had a career game last week against the Jets with 13 catches on 16 targets for 165 yards and a touchdown. It was only the second 100-yard game of Landry's career. The chances of him duplicating last week's 13/165/1 line is slim, but he has a great matchup this week against the Ravens, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. Even in standard-scoring formats, I have Landry inside my top-12 fantasy receivers for the week.

WR - Danny Amendola, New England Patriots (vs. PHI)

After missing last week's game, Amendola is questionable for Sunday's matchup against the Eagles, but it appears that he will be ready to go. It's a tremendous opportunity for him to exploit as the Eagles have allowed 10 passing touchdowns in their past two games alone and no team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing receivers this season.

With Rob Gronkowski ruled out for this game and Julian Edelman out for several more weeks, Tom Brady will look for Amendola early and often. In his past two games, Amendola has 19 catches on 23 targets for 196 yards.

WR - Eric Decker, New York Jets (at NYG)

Decker has been incredibly consistent as the No. 2 receiver along side Brandon Marshall this season. Not only has he scored a touchdown in eight of 10 games played, but Decker has a minimum of 59 receiving yards seven straight games and a minimum of four catches in nine straight. The Giants rank last in the NFL in passing yards allowed (309/G) this season.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 13:

WR - Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints (vs. CAR)

Cooks had just 5/35 last week against Houston, but he had been highly productive in his previous three games -- 265 yards and five touchdowns. Earlier this season, Cooks had seven catches for 79 yards against the Panthers and finished as fantasy's WR39 that week. With Josh Norman expected to shadow Cooks, it could be another week where Cooks finishes outside the top-24 fantasy receivers for the week.

WR - Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills (vs. HOU)

Here are the past four games for Watkins: 8/168/1 (WR3 in Week 9), 3/14 (WR77 in Week 10), 3/39 (WR55 in Week 11) and 6/158/2 (WR2 in Week 12). That's the dilemma for Watkins owners every week. Good luck trying to figure out whether you're going to get a 3/14 or 6/158/2 type of game?

The Texans have allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. In addition, they have not allowed a 100-yard receiver since Week 4.

WR - Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. ATL)

The Falcons allowed four 100-yard receivers in their first four games: Jordan Matthews, Odell Beckham and DeAndre Hopkins. Since Week 6, however, only two receivers have exceeded 50 yards: Willie Snead (55 yards in Week 6) and Quinton Patton (70 in Week 9). Only the Broncos have limited opposing wide receivers to fewer fantasy points than the Falcons so it'll be hard to trust the boom-or-bust Jackson this week.

WR - Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings (vs. SEA)

The past four games have not gone as well for Diggs as his first four NFL games went. With a minimum of 6/87 in each of his first four games, Diggs racked up 25 catches for 419 yards and two touchdowns. In his past four games, however, Diggs has exceeded 46 yards only once and has a total of 15 receptions for 185 yards and no touchdowns.

The Seahawks have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. Considering how much of a non-factor Mike Wallace has been, I would expect Richard Sherman to shadow Diggs instead of Wallace.

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2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 13 (Yanotchko)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 13 of the 2015 NFL season:

Chicago Bears -7 over San Francisco 49ers (4 units)

The Bears have been much improved this year, as they are almost at .500, and they have been more efficient on offense, and playing better defense than anyone thought possible after last year. The 49ers have just been a train wreck, as they lost quite a few Pro Bowl players to retirement, and of course, the offense has regressed mightily.

Although Blaine Gabbert has looked halfway decent this year, this game is still a huge mismatch in Chicago's favor, as the 49ers have been awful against the pass. The Niners secondary has given up 277 yards per game, and they allow a 69-percent completion rate to opposing quarterbacks. I just love Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, a healthy Alshon Jeffrey, and of course, the Bears at home at 1 PM in December. Add 'em all up, and I will give the seven here.

New York Giants +2.5 over New York Jets (4 units)

You just have to love the way this one works out, as the Giants are home 'dogs in their own stadium, and I still can't understand it. The Giants have been quite the odd team to figure out this year, as they could easily be 8-3 this year, but they are one game under .500 at 5-6.

The good news is that the Giants can still win the NFC East, but they have to start putting the games they should win in the proper column. The Jets had a hot start, but they have come back to earth as of recent, but they also need to start stringing wins together.

I believe this game will be won by the Giants through the air, as the Jets give up 240 yards per game, and 21 touchdowns to opposing QBs. Also, they have announced that All-Pro corner Darelle Revis will be missing this game with a concussion, so it will be open season for Odell Beckham Jr. I am a big fan of taking the better team when they are getting points, and this is certainly the case here.

Washington Redskins -4 over Dallas Cowboys (3 units)

I am going to start this pick with the preface that I despise the Cowboys. Even growing up in New England,you couldn't walk three feet in school without seeing bandwagon Dallas merchandise (Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, etc.). That being said, I really feel bad for Tony Romo, as he deserves much better, and hopefully he can make it through a season properly healthy.

Washington is a different team at home, and now in December they actually have something meaningful to play for, as they lead the NFC East. Washington has had the Cowboys number over the last 5 years, as they have gone 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 games. Also, I believe that Washington will be keeping a steady diet of run-first offense with Alfred Morris and Matt Jones, going up against a Dallas front-seven that gives up 106 yards per game and 4.1 yards per carry. I just don't think Matt Cassel can cover the four on Monday night, so I will take Washington to win going away.

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December 05, 2015

2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 13 (Beazley)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 13 of the 2015 NFL season:

New York Giants vs. New York Jets Over 46.5 (5 units)

I think this will be the highest-scoring game of the week. The Jets will be without Darrelle Revis this week, which means Odell Beckham gets to match up with Antonio Cromartie. ODB should have a monster game this week.

On the other side of the ball, you have Ryan Fitzpatrick who has yet to top 300 yards in the air this year, but he faces a Giants defense who just bleeds passing yardage. I think Fitz and the Jets will be forced into throwing the ball to keep pace with Eli Manning. If you're playing DFS this week, then this is one of those perfect games to stack. Giants, 31-28.

Miami Dolphins -3.5 over Baltimore Ravens (4 units)

This is just one of those gut games. Miami's defense has been absolutely brutal lately, but they face a Ravens team with limited weapons. I think Matt Schaub gets into some trouble this week on the road. I think Miami is also a very sneaky fantasy option. Another sneaky option is WR DeVante Parker. Parker had double-digit targets last week and should be filling in for injured WR Rishard Matthews. I think both Parker and Jarvis Landry have a big game against this Ravens defense, who is near the bottom of the league. Dolphins, 27-13.

New Orleans Saints +7 over Carolina Panthers (3 units)

The perfect season is on the line here, and I truly believe it could end this Sunday in Carolina. While Cam Newton is locked in as my No. 1 QB of the week, I think Drew Brees and the Saints come to play this week. Divisional games are always hard-fought contests and getting seven points is just too much. Carolina, 26-23.

New England Patriots -9 over Philadelphia Eagles (5 units)

The Eagles have quit on Chip Kelly, period. You can take all the weapons away from Tom Brady, and the Patriots would find a way to beat the Eagles. The Eagles have gotten destroyed the past few weeks, and I believe the Patriots will handle business in this one. This feels like a LeGarrette Blount 3-TD game to me. Patriots, 41-18.

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Week 13 Fantasy Football: Running Backs Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, C.J. Anderson is listed below as a "start" for Week 13. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 13 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both DeAngelo Williams, Chris Ivory and Anderson, you should start Williams and Ivory -- and in turn, bench Anderson.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 13:

RB - C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (at SD)

It has been a disappointing season for Anderson and his fantasy owners, but he is coming off a season-best performance against the Patriots. Scoring 27.3 fantasy points in Week 12 (only Adrian Peterson had more), CJA carried the ball 15 times for 113 yards and two touchdowns and added four catches for 40 yards. It was his second 100-yard game and top-five fantasy finish in his past five games.

Over the past six games, however, Anderson's backfield mate Ronnie Hillman has a total of 100 touches (16.67/G). Regardless of who's the "starter," both backs figure to get a sizable workload on Sunday. And the matchup is ripe (for both backs) to exploit. No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing running backs this season than the Chargers.

RB - David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (at STL)

Not only was Chris Johnson placed on short-term IR, but Andre Ellington (turf toe) has also been ruled out for Week 13. While (David) Johnson has been productive on a per-touch basis this season, he'll get his opportunity to shoulder the load as an every-down back this week.

The third-rounder out of Northern Iowa has a total of 54 touches on the season, but he has scored eight touchdowns -- four rushing, three receiving and one return. In their past four games, the Rams have allowed four top-16 weekly running backs.

RB - Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks (at MIN)

With Marshawn Lynch sidelined for at least a few more weeks, Rawls will carry the load for Seattle's rushing attack. Rawls has 15-plus touches in five games this season and he has scored double-digit fantasy points in four of them including last week's win over the Steelers. In his past two games, Rawls has 54 combined touches for 336 yards from scrimmage and three scores.

The Week 13 matchup against the Vikings isn't great as they allow the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, but Rawls finished as fantasy's RB11 against the Steelers last week. No team has allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs than Pittsburgh.

RB - Shaun Draughn, San Francisco 49ers (at CHI)

Since becoming the lead back for the 49ers, Draughn has exactly 20 touches in three consecutive games. Draughn is averaging just 3.4 YPC and he has yet to score a touchdown, but he has a total of 17 receptions over that three-game stretch as well.

Finishing as the RB22, RB27 and RB22, respectively, in standard-scoring leagues, Draughn has been better in PPR formats -- top-16 each week. After back-to-back tough matchups against Seattle and Arizona, respectively, Draughn gets a more favorable matchup this week against the Bears.

RB - Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (at CLE)

It's been a disappointing season for Hill, but he rushed for a season-high 86 yards on 16 carries last week against the Rams. Although he gained just 45 yards on the ground in Week 12, he scored two touchdowns in that game so he has now finished as a top-16 fantasy running back in consecutive games.

Hill had just 52 yards on 15 carries in his first matchup against the Browns, but it is a better matchup than his last performance shows. The Browns have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 13:

RB - Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts (at PIT)

Over the past four weeks, Gore has been an absolute workhorse -- at least, in terms of touches. In those four games, Gore has 25, 29, 19 and 21 touches. Gore had his bye during that stretch, but the only back with more touches in his games 8 to 11 was Peterson (105). In the two games since his bye, Gore had one favorable matchup (at ATL) and one tough matchup (vs. TB), but he has gained only 58 yards on his 33 carries (1.76 YPC) in those two games.

Given his age (32) and cumulative workload, it's no surprise that he's "beat to crap," but the matchup this week will make it tough for him to get back on track. The Steelers have been the league's stingiest fantasy defense to opposing running backs in 2015, as noted above.

RB - Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers (vs. DEN)

The good news is that Gordon has averaged 18.0 touches per game over his past four games. The bad news is that he hasn't produced as anything more than a RB3/flex. With an average of 6.15 fantasy points per game over that stretch, MG3 has finished no better than RB25 in any of those four games. With 170 touches (143 carries and 27 receptions) on the season, he's perhaps due -- or long overdue -- to score his first NFL touchdown, but the matchup this week isn't great.

Ranked second in the NFL in rushing defense (84.7 YPG allowed), the Broncos have allowed just 3.15 yards per carry to opposing running backs this season. In addition, they have allowed only one 100-yard rusher all season (Jamaal Charles, Week 2).

RB - Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (vs. NYJ)

Exceeding 15 touches in only one game this season, Jennings has averaged 12.0 touches per game. As a comparison, Jennings played only 11 games last season, but he had a total of 197 touches (17.91/G).

Not only has Jennings scored single-digit fantasy points in seven consecutive games, but he has 5.1 fantasy points or less in four of his past five. Meanwhile, the Jets have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs and rank first in the NFL in rushing defense (84.4 YPG) this season.

RB - Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (vs. CIN)

Even for those in 20-team leagues, Crowell wouldn't be more than a flex option. In his past two games against the Steelers and Ravens, Crowell has a total of 13 carries for two yards. In fact, here is his rushing yardage in his past five games: 9, 14, 38, -5 and 7 yards, respectively. Even though his five-game high (38 rushing yards) came against this week's opponent, there is little-to-no upside with Crowell.

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