It’s crunch time, and you know who to start and who not to. However, here are a few fringe options that should help you make some lineup decisions:
JAMEIS WINSTON, QB TB vs. New Orleans Saints
20.9 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
For those of you not paying attention, Jameis Winson has been pretty solid as the starting QB for Tampa Bay this season. In his last 6 games, he is averaging 35.3 passing attempts, which is 6th in the NFL. In that span, he is also averaging 25.8 FPPG, which is 3rd among QBs. He is also averaging 25.3 FPPG (6th) and multiple scores in his last 3 games since returning as the starting QB. I love him this week and I myself just picked him up off waivers and am starting him over Kirk Cousins this week.
The Saints are allowing 21.3 FPPG to opposing QBs (4th), 3580 yards (2nd) and 22 TDs (6th). However, they are only allowing 12.7 PPG to opposing offenses in their last 4 games (CIN, PHI, ATL, DAL) and have been playing solid defensively. However, the volume for Winston is there and I expect him to have a pretty solid week.
Here are some notable performances against the Saints secondary:
- Week 1: Ryan Fitzpatrick 53.0 Fantasy Points (QB1)
- Week 3: Matt Ryan 53.0 Fantasy Points (QB2)
- Week 7: Joe Flacco 25.0 Fantasy Points (QB11)
- Week 8: Kirk Cousins 25.0 Fantasy Points (QB8)
- Week 9: Jared Goff 39.0 Fantasy Points (QB3)
- Week 12: Matt Ryan 28.0 Fantasy Points (QB10)
Start him with confidence this week. However, beware because he will face Baltimore in Week 15 and Dallas in Week 16. This will be the last week you can use him for the 2018 season. Let’s make it a good one.
LAMAR JACKSON, QB BAL @ Kansas City Chiefs
21.0 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
Let’s be real here people. Lamar Jackson is never going to wow you with his passing accuracy or throw for 4 scores and 300+ yards in a game. In the 3 weeks since taking over as the starter in Baltimore, Jackson is averaging 21.6 passing attempts per game, which is 26th among QBs in that span. He is also averaging 22.6 FPPG, which is 10th. However, he is also averaging 87.6 rush yards per game in that span, which is 1st in the NFL. With the rushing yards that Jackson is guaranteed to pile up, he has a very high floor and one that really will not hurt you going forward.
The Chiefs defense has been pretty awful and this game has the potential to be a high scoring affair. The Chiefs are allowing 21.0 FPPG (5th), 325 completions (1st), 3805 yards (1st), 23 TDs (5th). They are also allowing 4 rushing TDs (1st) to QBs. Here are some favorable performances to QBs against this defense:
- Week 1: Phillip Rivers 35.0 fantasy points (QB4)
- Week 2: Ben Roethlisberger 46.0 fantasy points (QB2)
- Week 3: Jimmy Garoppolo 26.0 fantasy points (QB11)
- Week 5: Blake Bortles 29.0 fantasy points (QB7)
- Week 6: Tom Brady 28.0 fantasy points (QB12)
- Week 8: Case Keenum 24.0 Fantasy Points (QB11)
- Week 9: Baker Mayfield 22.0 fantasy points (QB14)
- Week 11: Jared Goff 46.0 fantasy points (QB2)
- Week 13: Derek Carr 29.0 fantasy points (QB5)
Lamar Jackson is not your prototypical pocket passer, but we know that and don’t expect him to be. I feel rather confident starting him against this porous Chiefs defense knowing that Jackson should rip off chunks of rushing yards this week.
BAKER MAYFIELD, QB CLE vs. Carolina Panthers
21.7 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
Baker struggled a bit Week 13 against a tough Houston defense, which is making most fantasy owners uneasy. While this performance may lead owners to the waiver wire looking for other options, it is important to remember that he threw for 397 passing yards and 1 TD. It is also important to know that Antonio Callaway fumbled at the goalline and also had a 70+ TD reception called back due to a penalty. The week could have gone much different, but he still managed 20 fantasy points. Mayfield is averaging 26.0 FPPG in his last 4 games and is really becoming a pretty solid play-caller for the Browns as a rookie.
He will square off against a Carolina defense that is having a tough time as of late. The Carolina Panthers are allowing 20.2 FPPG to opposing QBs (6th), 3207 Yards (11th) and 26 TDs (3rd). Here are some notable performances against this defense:
- Week 2: Matt Ryan 31.7 Fantasy Points (QB5)
- Week 3: Andy Dalton 18.1 Fantasy Points (QB15)
- Week 5: Eli Manning 19.2 Fantasy Points (QB12)
- Week 7: Carson Wentz 20.7 Fantasy Points (QB10)
- Week 9: Ryan Fitzpatrick 26.0 Fantasy Points (QB5)
- Week 10: Ben Roethlisberger 35.8 Fantasy Points (QB1)
- Week 12: Russell Wilson 29.0 fantasy points (QB8)
- Week 13: Jameis Winston 27.0 fantasy points (QB6)
Baker Mayfield is a star in the making and is putting up an impressive rookie campaign. He will also go against Denver in Week 15 and Cincinnati in Week 16, two teams who are struggling against opposing QBs. Feel good about him going forward.
DEREK CARR, QB OAK vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
16.5 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
Nobody believes in Derek Carr, but I remember when he was putting up 30+ fantasy points a game in his first few years in the NFL. It is no secret that he is on a poorly coached, dormant offense, but there is still room for growth. He is coming off his 3rd best performance of the season Week 13, where he dropped 29.0 fantasy points against the Chiefs secondary and kept this game competitive losing 40 – 33. He is also averaging 35.0 pass attempts per game, which ranks 6th in that time frame.
There is volume here and he should continue his solid play Week 14 against the Steelers. The Steelers are allowing 18.8 FPPG to opposing QBs (9th) and 23 TDs (5th).
Carr is not an elite option and has been far from consistent this season, but he will face off against the Bengals in Week 15 and the Broncos in Week 16. This should bode well for his increasing fantasy production and makes him a serviceable option going forward.
GUS EDWARDS, RB BAL @ Kansas City Chiefs
12.0 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
Gus Edwards has been the spark this Ravens backfield has been looking for all season. With the installation of Lamar Jackson as the starting signal caller in Baltimore, Edwards has been able to capitalize on a zone read scheme and has been able to rip of yardage in chunks. He is averaging 20.3 carries per game in his last 3 weeks since taking over as the starter. He has also not posted a game under 82 yards and remains the focal point of this backfield.
He will face a Chiefs defense that has mightily struggled against the run this season. The Chiefs are allowing 25.5 FPPG to QBs (3rd), 1313 yards (8th) and 10 TDs (5th). They have also allowed 102 Targets against (3rd), 83 Receptions (3rd) and 6 receiving TDs (1st) to pass catching running backs. Edwards is not involved in the passing game at all (0 receptions), but could factor in this week.
Here are some recent performances against this run defense:
- Week 1: Melvin Gordon 22.5 fantasy points (RB6)
- Week 2: James Conner 16.5 fantasy points (RB7)
- Week 3: Matt Breida 18.5 fantasy points (RB9)
- Week 5: TJ Yeldon 22.0 fantasy points (RB6)
- Week 6: Sony Michel 22.0 fantasy points (RB8)
- Week 8: Phillip Lindsay 18.5 fantasy points (RB11)
- Week 10: David Johnson 33.5 fantasy points (RB4)
- Week 13: Jalen Richard 16.5 fantasy points (RB10)
Edwards has been a great find for fantasy owners and a guy you should be able to rely on down the stretch. He will square off against Tampa Bay in Week 15 and the Chargers in Week 16, two teams who have struggled against the run. Continue to roll with him as a flex option.
AUSTIN EKELER, RB LAC vs. Cincinnati Bengals
11.6 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
If Melvin Gordon remains out this week which is a strong possibility, Austin Ekeler is a must start. Ekeler has been a solid backup all season to Gordon and has flourished in his minimal opportunities.
The Bengals are allowing 27.4 FPPG to opposing RBs (1st), 1510 yards (2nd) and 13 TDs (2nd). They are also allowing 637 receiving yards (7th) and 6 receiving TDs (1st) to pass catching running backs. Here are some recent performances against one of the worst defenses in the NFL:
- Week 3: Christian McCaffrey 21.4 Fan PTS (RB6)
- Week 5: Kenyan Drake 24.5 Fan PTS (RB6)
- Week 6: James Conner 28.9 Fan PTS (RB5)
- Week 7: Kareem Hunt 37.1 Fan PTS (RB1)
- Week 10: Alvin Kamara 26.2 Fan PTS (RB10), Mark Ingram 25.2 Fan PTS (RB12)
- Week 11: Gus Edwards 19.0 Fan Points (RB10)
- Week 12: Nick Chubb 27.5 Fantasy Points (RB3)
- Week 13: Phillip Lindsay 29.5 fantasy points (RB3)
Don’t expect Ekeler to be the starter for long as Melvin Gordon is expected back sooner than later, but this could be a massive week for Ekeler. Start him with confidence Week 14.
AARON JONES, RB GB vs. Atlanta Falcons
16.8 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
With the recent news of Mike McCarthy being fired, don’t be surprised if Aaron Jones gets 40 carries this week. Jones has been a diamond in the rough waiting for an opportunity and we were convinced that McCarthy was going to give him some run going forward. These hopes were squashed week 13 when he only touched the ball 15 times. Jones is averaging 21.5 FPPG in his last 4 games, which is impressive seeing how little he has been utilized.
This should be Jones’ best week of the season, facing a Falcons defense who has been gashed by the run this season. The Falcons are allowing 23.0 FPPG (5th) and 10 TDs (5th) to opposing RBs. They are also allowing 89 Receptions (1st), 701 yards (4th) and 4 TDs (3rd) to pass catching running backs. Jones has been solid in the passing game and has caught most of his targets on the season.
Here are some recent performances against the Falcons run defense:
- Week 2: Christian McCaffrey 28.0 Fan PTS (RB2)
- Week 3: Alvin Kamara 34.0 Fan PTS (RB1)
- Week 4: Giovani Bernard 26.0 Fan PTS (RB9)
- Week 5: James Conner 34.0 Fan PTS (RB1)
- Week 6: Peyton Barber 21.0 Fan PTS (RB9)
- Week 7: Saquon Barkley 24.0 PTS (RB5)
- Week 10: Nick Chubb 35.9 Fan PTS (RB4)
- Week 11: Ezekiel Elliot 31.5 Fantasy Points (RB2)
Aaron Jones is an elite talent at the running back position and with a coaching change, we are about to see just how elite. Look for Jones to have his best game of the season and finish out the year strong. He’s good and will only get better.
SONY MICHEL, RB NE @ Miami Dolphins
11.0 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
Sony Michel has been often injured and always frustrating this season, but when he is healthy, he is awesome. In games where he touches the ball at least 19 times this season, he is averaging 21.3 fantasy points per game. In his last 2 games, he is averaging 20.5 touches per game and continues to be the bellcow running back for this offense, while James White continues to be the passing down back.
The Patriots will square off against a Miami run defense that has struggled this season. They are allowing 22.4 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (8th) 1397 yards allowed (4th) and 9 TDs 6th). They are also allowing 4.7 yards per carry, which is the 10th most in the league.
Here are some recent outcomes against this Miami run defense:
- Week 1: Dion Lewis 22.0 Fantasy Points (RB9)
- Week 2: Bilal Powell 19.0 Fantasy Points (RB9)
- Week 3: Marshawn Lynch 18.0 Fantasy Points (RB10)
- Week 4: James White 31.0 Fantasy Points (RB3)
- Week 5: Joe Mixon 21.0 Fantasy Points (RB9)
- Week 6: Tarik Cohen 24.0 Fantasy Points (RB6)
- Week 7: Kerryon Johnson 20.0 Fantasy Points (RB9)
- Week 8: Lamar Miller 19.0 Fantasy Points (RB15)
- Week 10: Aaron Jones 32.5 Fan Points (RB5)
Sony Michel could be in for his biggest game of the season and should feast against this Miami defense. Look for Michel to put up a Top 5 fantasy running back week this week.
AMARI COOPER, WR DAL vs. Philadelphia Eagles
13.2 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
Amari Cooper has been rejuvenated since joining the Cowboys Week 9. In his first 5 games with the Dallas Cowboys, he has developed a solid chemistry with Dak Prescott, averaging 8.0 targets and 15.2 Fantasy points per game. Yes, one of these games was an 8 catch 180 yard 2 TD effort on Thanksgiving, but the signs are there and they look promising.
This Eagles secondary has struggled lately and with Ronald Darby out for the season and Jalen Mills unable to stop anyone, it could be a tough few weeks for the Eagles. They are currently allowing 26.1 Fantasy points per game to opposing WRs (9th) 175 receptions allowed (3rd) 2275 yards (2nd) and 12 TDs (8th). This matchup bodes well for Cooper and expect him to go over the century mark this week.
DANTE PETTIS, WR SAN vs. Denver Broncos
10.1 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
With Pierre Garcon already being ruled out for Week 14, Pettis should be in line for another big day. Pettis is averaging 7.0 targets and 21.7 fantasy points in his last 2 games. In those 2 games, he is also averaging 42.0 routes run, which is 6th in the NFL and 2.45 yards per route run, which is 4th in the NFL in that span. Goodwin will be back and active this week, but I think the Niners want to see what they have in Pettis.
The Broncos are allowing a respectable 24.0 Fantasy points per game to opposing WRs (16th), but they have also allowed 163 receptions (9th) 2073 yards (10th) and 13 TDs (7th). Pettis should be in for a decent week in Week 14.
CHRIS GODWIN / ADAM HUMPHRIES, WR TB vs. New Orleans Saints
11.2 / 10.4 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS PER GAME
Chris Godwin has at least 5 receptions in 6 total games this season. In those 6 games, he is averaging 13.9 fantasy points per game. While not particularly impressive, you have to remember that he is WR2 in Tampa Bay to Mike Evans. He continues to build a rapport with Jameis Winston, who has been awesome since returning as the starter in Week 11.
Adam Humphries is averaging 7.1 targets and 12.6 fantasy points per game in his last 7 games. Humphries is the Bucs primary slot receiver, running 82.5% of his snaps from the slot this season and should continue to be heavily targeted for the rest of the season. He will square off against PJ Williams, who is allowing a 128.6 passer rating this season. He is also allowing the 7th most receptions (45), the 9th most yardage (602 yards) and the 2nd most TDs (6th).
The Saints are allowing 29.2 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (1st), 183 receptions (1st) 2519 yards (1st) and 16 receiving TDs (4th). Don’t let these numbers fool you, as this secondary has been excellent lately and this defense has only allowed 12.7 PPG to opposing offenses in their last 4 games (CIN, PHI, ATL, DAL). But Jameis is rolling right now and the Bucs will air it out a ton. Start both Godwin and Humphries with confidence.
COURTLAND SUTTON, WR DEN @ San Francisco 49ers
11.8 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
With the news of Emmanuel Sanders out for the season, Courtland Sutton will step into the featured role in Denver. Sutton hasn’t been the breakout star that we expected since Demaryius Thomas left town, only averaging 5.6 targets per game since his departure. In fact, he is only averaging 25.6 routes run per game in that span, which doesn’t even crack the top 50 in the league. With Sanders lost for the season, Sutton will have to step it up.
The 49ers are allowing 27.2 fantasy points per game to opposing WRs (3rd) and 19 receiving TDs. Look for Sutton to get on track Week 14 for one of his best performances of the season.
VANCE MCDONALD, TE PIT @ Oakland Raiders
8.5 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
Vance McDonald, not Jesse James has become the #1 Tight End in Pittsburgh. McDonald is averaging 27.5 routes run per game this season, as opposed to Jesse James’ 19.0 routes run per game. The Steelers have the 9th most targets in the NFL to the Tight End position and McDonald is averaging 6.0 targets per game in his last 3 games.
The Raiders are allowing 11.8 fantasy points per game to opposing TEs, which is the most in the NFL. I don’t think McDonald will put up any 20+ points games going forward, but he could be helpful in Week 14 and has a favorable schedule going forward.
ERIC EBRON, TE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS @ Houston Texans
13.9 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
With Jack Doyle lost for the season, you are starting Ebron every week going forward. He has been targeted 11.5 times per game in his last 2 games, with a massive 10 catch 81 yard performance in Week 13 against Jacksonville. He has been a massive find for fantasy owners and should be solid down the stretch.
The Texans are allowing 9.2 fantasy points per game to opposing TEs (7th) 769 yards (7th) and 6 TDs (4th). Look for Ebron to continue his impressive play.
If you have any start/sit questions, feel free to leave a comment below or give me a shout on twitter at @BISHPHAT.