Atlanta Falcons @ Philadelphia Eagles
Overall Outlook- This is going to be a fun game to watch as the Flacons have seemingly regained their 2017 form and look to be as in play for the Super Bowl as anyone. Matt Ryan played well against the Rams, but still posted just 13 fantasy points and he just doesn't have the same ceiling that he had last season. I most likely won't be targeting him in DFS, but I do like other Falcons and they have a decent shot at winning this game. Devonta Freeman out-touched Tevin Coleman just 19-17 against the Rams after it looked like he had control over a dominant workload in week 17. The Eagles had one of the best run-defenses in the NFL this season led by a ferocious pass rush. I'm not sure if I would be running to roster a Falcons back this week, but if I had to choose it would obviously be Freeman. Julio Jones posted a solid 9-94-1 line against the Rams last week and has an arguably better matchup this week. The Eagles outside corners struggled towards the end of the season and nobody can truly cover Julio. He's the top play at WR in all formats on Sunday. Mohamed Sanu can also be used as a GPP play, but I don't think I would use both him and Julio together. Nick Foles played "okay" after he took over for the injured Carson Went, and honestly I can see why the Falcons are favored in this game. I think either team can win, and there has been some slight movement towards the Eagles despite the public all-in on the Falcons so I think it truly can go either way, but the Falcons are in a better position. I don't think I would consider Foles a DFS option this week. Jay Ajayi should come into this game fully rested after sitting out last week, and if the Eagles are going to win or be in this game it's going to need to come on his shoulders. I would much rather attack the Falcons on the ground than in the air given how they have been playing and we haven't seen Ajayi get unleashed yet. I prefer the backs in the other game more, but I think I would take Ajayi over Freeman for the price. The Eagles pass-catcher I'm most interested in by far is Nelson Agholor. We attacked the Falcons in the slot last week with Cooper Kupp and it paid dividends, so I'm going right back to the well this week. Brian Poole has been one of the most exposable slot corners in the NFL season and Agholor is in the midst of a breakout campaign.
Tennessee Titans @ New England Patriots
Overall Outlook- Oh boy, here we go. #AngryBrady narrative in full-effect, the Patriots own a HUGE implied team total in Vegas of 30 points. Marcus Mariota had one of the weirder fantasy performances of the season last week in which he threw a pass to himself for a touchdown. He continues to have fantasy upside given his rushing ability, and I would prefer him to Ryan and Foles in tournaments. Derrick Henry is going to be in line for another 95+% snap rate this week with DeMarco Murray out again. The only thing that can hurt him is game flow and his mediocre pass-catching ability, but he still is a strict volume DFS play. I don't have a ton of interest in the Titans pass-catchers, but I definitely think Delanie Walker is a viable tourney pivot off of Rob Chalkowski. Walker saw a heavy dose of targets last week and is the most reliable option for Mariota. First things first, all of the Patriots are chalk. Tom Brady is playable in anything and is the clear cut cash game play on the Saturday slate. It looks like both Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee will both miss this game, leaving us with a heavy, heavy amount of Dion Lewis and James White once again. I like both of them in all formats and have no issues even playing them together. Rob Gronkowski is chalky, and for good reason. I can see not suing him in tournaments but I would surely try and cram him in for cash games. Chris Hogan is returning (finally) and is actually my favorite Patriots pass-catcher in tournaments. The Titans secondary is not good whatsoever, but they limit big plays and are attackable in the slot. He is reported to be in line for a "full-workload" so I wouldn't have any concerns in using him.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Overall Outlook- This game is going to be interesting as it puts one of the leagues best defenses against one of its most potent offenses. We all saw how #bad Blake Bortles played against the Bills and this matchup is not easier on the road in the cold weather. He's in play for tournaments, but who isn't on a two game slate? Leonard Fournette was terrible last week against the leagues worst run-defense, but there is a reason to go back to the well (gross I know). The Steelers run-defense has not been the same since Ryan Shazier went down and I don't see a scenario where the Jaguars are in this game without Fournette accounting for most of the production. Dede Westbrook would be the Jaguar pass-catcher of choice for me, with everyone healthy last week everyone played over 45% of the snaps but Dede saw the most targets (8) by a wide margin. I'm not sure many people will want to play Ben Roethlisberger against the best secondary in the NFL, but he is firmly in play in tournaments. I get how good the Jaguars are, but it's a two game slate and Ben's numbers are so good at home it's hard not to take a look at low ownership. Le'Veon Bell is a lock, and that's a fact. The Jaguars run-defense has improved over the course of the season, but with a hobbled Antonio Brown the bulk of the offensive production could be placed onto Bell's shoulders. If I'm playing one person from this game only, it's Bell 10/10 times. As I mentioned, there are concerns with how Brown's calf is going to hold up in the cold weather, which keeps him as a high-ceiling tournament play. He had success against this Jaguars defense in their earlier meeting, and he's the best WR in football he can always break a slate. I actually think this game will be closer than some think, and given the environment I have more interest in the late game.
Overall Outlook- This is going to be the best game of the day I think, with arguably the two best teams left in the playoffs squaring off. There has been some late movement towards the Vikings, so I won't be shocked if they end up winning. Drew Brees is notorious for his negative home/road splits, but he actually hasn't played any better or worse on the road this season and this game is still inside on the turf. The Vikings defense is exceptional, maybe even better than the Jaguars but I still think Brees is in play for GPPs. I prefer Alvin Kamara to Mark Ingram by a good margin, especially now that slot receiver Brandon Coleman is out for this game. That should lead to even more passing opportunities for Kamara who had already out-snapped Ingram last week. Michael Thomas did not see any Xavier Rhodes shadow treatment back in week one, and I think that changes this week. Despite my love for Thomas, I will lean Ted Ginn in this game based solely off that. Josh Hill is also a GPP tight end play and he found the end zone last week. Case Keenum has gotten the Vikings this far, and they own the highest implied team total of the day at 26. The Saints defense is strong, especially on the outside, but I like Keenum in all formats at home here. Latavius Murray has seen 21, 22 and 21 touches over the last three weeks and he has a good matchup as the ground has been the best place to attack the Saints this season. He's a great tournament play and I would be interested in trying to fit him along with Bell and Kamara on Draftkings if possible. Adam Thielen is a lock for me on this slate, he saw his slot usage rise back up over the last two weeks and the Saints have struggled mightily in slot coverage over the second half of the season. I think I will be fading Stefon Diggs, but he has slate-breaking potential if he gets loose. I just think it will be the Thielen show.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)