This week looks to have less scoring potential than previous weeks. Playoff time in most fantasy leagues is looming, and that makes this a make-or-break week for many teams.
START: T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts
Questions about his hamstrings were put to rest emphatically when he torched the Titans with nine receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns last week. After recording just 15 targets in a three-game span, Hilton has 16 in his last two games and faces a Dolphins pass defense that is 29th in the league in average yards allowed per reception. A dialed-in Andrew Luck (seven straight games with at least three touchdown passes) will have no problem finding his featured receiver.
SIT: Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans
Take away his five-touchdown performance against the Dolphins in Week 8, and Watson has just six touchdown passes in his last five games. That doesn’t bode well against a Titans defense that still ranks fourth in fewest fantasy points allowed per game, despite being lit up by the Colts last week. Watson no longer offers the bonus of running the ball, which makes him sideline material this week.
START: Duke Johnson Jr., RB, Browns
He’s once again RB2/flex viable in PPR formats after catching all 13 of his targets for 109 yards and three touchdowns in his last two games. Expect the good times to continue for Johnson, who gets a plum matchup against the Bengals, who are 31st in fantasy points allowed per game to running backs. The Bengals also are 31st in receiving yards allowed, and rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield is improving.
SIT: Alex Collins, RB, Ravens
Collins is too touchdown-dependent to garner much value and has seen his touches decline since getting 19 carries in Week 6, falling to just seven last week against the Bengals. The unexpected rise of Gus Edwards makes an already-crowded Ravens backfield more cramped, meaning Collins will see limited touches against a Raiders defense that ranks 31st in rushing yards allowed.
START: Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles
Don’t be discouraged by Wentz’s poor effort in the loss at the Saints. With the Eagles ranked 25th in rushing and their chances of defending their Super Bowl crown beginning to slip away, expect Wentz to throw at will against a Giants defense that he lit up for three touchdowns in Week 6. There’s little chance of Zach Ertz catching just two passes or Golden Tate being a nonfactor in consecutive weeks, so bank on Wentz rebounding.
SIT: Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos
After consecutive 100-yard games in Weeks 6 and 7, Sanders has flattened to a combined 160 yards in his last three games. He has suffered without having Demaryius Thomas taking coverage away. And with rookie Courtland Sutton starting to see more targets, Sanders has fallen from a solid WR2 to a borderline flex. Although the Steelers rank 28th in receiving yards allowed, Sanders’ recent struggles aren’t encouraging enough to take the gamble.
SIT: Aaron Jones, RB, Packers
There’s little debate that Jones is now the Packers’ lead back. However, he has yet to record more than 15 carries in a game this season, and his matchup against the Vikings appears to be the splash of cold water that stalls him after scoring four times in the last two games. The Vikings rank fourth against the run and have allowed only five touchdowns on the ground, meaning Jones will need to deliver as a receiver to justify having him in the lineup.
START: Eli Manning, QB, Giants
The Eagles’ secondary is in worse shape than when Manning passed for 281 yards against it in the first meeting this season. With Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. putting up solid numbers of late, Manning should have a field day against a Philly defense that ranks 27th in fantasy points allowed per game.
SIT: LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills
Don’t count on McCoy putting up 110 yards and two scores against the Jaguars, whose run defense is stouter than the Jets’ run “D,” which McCoy tore apart in Week 10. Even with a big workload, that’s a matchup to avoid.