Denver Broncos @ Indianapolis Colts
Projected Vegas Score: Broncos 21.5, Colts 19
Quarterbacks- It looks like we are headed for another underwhelming Thursday night game between the Broncos and Colts. Trevor Siemian looked better last week against the Jets, but I still don't see anyway I use him in DFS even against a Colts defense that ranks 30th in pass-defense DVOA. Jacoby Brissett has regressed since his early season success but it could have to do with the lack of a team around him. He has taken the most sacks of any Quarterback in the NFL and is running for his life week after week. The Broncos rank 13th in pass DVOA, but I don't see myself going there even at home.
Running Backs- C.J. Anderson has seen 19+ touches in each of the last two weeks but he hasn't necessarily done anything with them. The Colts rank 10th in run-defense DVOA but they have crumbled in recent weeks and were gashed by LeSean McCoy in the blizzard bowl last weekend. He's in play for GPPs, but I don't have a ton of confidence in him. Frank Gore showed he still has it as he toted the pigskin 36 times for 130 yards in the snow. I don't see him getting that type of workload this week and he matches up with the Broncos who are 2nd in run-defense DVOA. I'll pass.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Manny Sanders hasn't looked right to me in recent weeks so I'm going to pass on him...but I'm very interested in Demaryius Thomas. DT has seen 8+ targets in 7 straight games and now matches up with the Colts who will be without their top 4 (!) defensive backs. T.Y. Hilton has historically been much better at home throughout his career and the Broncos have given up the most touchdowns through the air this season, however they haven't been as bad as you would think against opposing wideouts. Jack Doyle has a great matchup as the Broncos are bottom 5 in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to opposing Tight Ends. Both are GPP options.
Overall Outlook- Demaryius Thomas is the top play from this game with Hilton/Doyle checking in for tournaments.
Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions
Projected Vegas Score: Lions 24.5, Bears
Quarterbacks- The Lions have the highest implied team total on the Thursday-Saturday slate at 24.5 points. The Bears defense is tough overall and ranks 14th in pass-defense DVOA but Matt Stafford has owned them throughout his career. He threw for 299 yards and 2 touchdowns in their first meeting this season and has been on fire as of late. He is firmly in play on this slate. Mitch Trubisky has his best game as a pro last week throwing for 271 yards and a touchdown in a win over the Bengals. He just isn't throwing enough for me to trust him in DFS yet.
Running Backs- Jordan Howard is coming off a huge game against the Bengals in which he ran for 147 yards and 2 touchdowns. He continues to be one of the most game script dependent players in NFL DFS and there's a good chance the Bears are trailing early this week. The Lions run defense has been abysmal though over the latter part of the season and that puts Howard in the tournament conversation. The Lions run game has been #bad for quite some time now, but if Ameer Abdullah is out again Theo Riddick is a great play at his price. If Abdullah plays, that eliminates them both for me.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Marvin Jones and Golden Tate continue to be the guys in the Lions passing game and both are in play this week. On a 3 game slate, you definitely can double-stack them with Stafford but if you are choosing one I prefer Jones on Fanduel and Tate on Draftkings. The Bears passing situation is really a mess and we saw Kendall Wright one back to life last week. There's no way I can trust him this week or any one else in their WR corps.
Overall Outlook- Stafford and Tate/Jones are top plays on the Thursday-Saturday slate while Howard is perfectly fine for tournaments in a great matchup.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs
Projected Vegas Score: Chargers 23.5, Chiefs 23
Quarterbacks- This is going to be a great game to watch as both teams are competing for the AFC West crown. Philip Rivers has been ON FIRE averaging 21 fantasy points per game over the last 3 weeks. The Chiefs rank 21st in pass-defense DVOA, but they have been much better at home this season. Rivers is viable in all formats again this week. Alex Smith has played well against the Oakland last week, but he had 3 touchdowns called back and game script hurt him in the end. The Chargers secondary has been fantastic this season and they rank 6th in pass-defense DVOA. I prefer Rivers to Smith by a significant mark this week.
Running Backs- Melvin Gordon has lost some work to Austin Ekeler in recent weeks, but he still has seen 20+ touches in 5 straight weeks. The Chiefs rank 31st in in run-defense DVOA and this is arguably a better spot that Rivers is in. He's a top play in all formats on the Thursday-Saturday slate. Kareem Hunt is also in a good spot this week against a Chargers run defense that ranks 26th in DVOA. Charcandrick West came in for a vulture TD last week, but he still saw 28 touches and he is a tournament option once again this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Keenan Allen is in a fantastic spot this week. He will avoid Marcus Peters on the majority of his routes and has just been on a tear in recent weeks. Hunter Henry is also in play as he has finally seen his snap count rise to a reasonable rate. Tyreek Hill isn't an option for me against this elite Chargers secondary, but Travis Kelce is the option I would look to for the Chiefs. The Chargers have been above average against Tight Ends this season, but they have struggled in recent weeks (Jason Witten) and game-log watchers might be off Kelce after he had 2 touchdowns called back last week.
Overall Outlook- This game is going to be a blast to watch. The RBs are my favorite plays followed by Kelce, Allen and Rivers in that order.
Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants
Projected Vegas Score: Eagles 24, Giants 16.5
Quarterbacks- Everyone seems to think that the Eagles are #done with the loss of Carson Wentz, but in the words of Lee Corso "Not so fast!" Nick Foles has played well in this exact situation during his career and this Eagles team is better than any other one he has previously played on. He doesn't have the same upside as Wentz, but at his price he is in play against the Giants who rank 25th in pass-defense DVOA. The Eagles defense has been astounding this season ranking top 5 in both run and pass DVOA, thus eliminating Eli Manning from contention for me.
Running Backs- Jay Ajayi is supposedly going to see "increased work" for the Eagles this week in the wake of Wentz' injury but it is still really hard to trust for me. The Eagles will most likely have 4-5 Running Backs active again so that puts Ajayi in the GPP only range. The Giants Running Backs have been a mess all season and are not in play for me against this Eagles defense that ranks 4th in run-defense DVOA.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz are the primary targets or the Eagles, and it's going to be interesting to see who Nick Foles locks in on. For now, I would prioritize Jeffery over Ertz if I'm using Foles, but both are solid GPP plays. Sterling Shepard is expected to play this week and will be the focal point of the Eagles passing game along with Evan Engram. I can see the interest in either for tournaments, but I'm instituting a full Giants #fade.
Overall Outlook- The Eagles side of this game is definitely interesting for tournaments but other than that I don't have much interest in this game. If i had to pick one player it would probably be Jay Ajayi in GPPs.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Minnesota Vikings
Projected Vegas Score: Vikings 26.5, Bengals 16
Quarterbacks- This is one of my favorite GPP games of the week, partly because I LOVE the Vikings side of this game. Case Keenum has been fantastic for the Vikings this season averaging 21 fantasy points over the last 5 weeks. This Bengal defense was victimized by rookie game-manager Mitch Trubisky last week to a tune of 271 yards and a touchdown (21 fantasy points). The Vikings are at home against a banged up Bengals defense and Keenum is a solid tournament play this week. The Bengals offense has been horrible for the latter part of the year and they are on the road this week after getting blitzed at home by the Bears. I'll pass on Andy Dalton this week.
Running Backs- Both Minnesota Running Backs are fine plays this week after the Bengals coughed up 147 yards and 2 touchdowns to Jordan Howard last week. Out of Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon, I prefer McKinnon who has seen double-digit touches every week since week 5 and has the athleticism to break off a big play both in the run and passing game. Joe Mixon is likely to return for the Bengals this week, but I don't have any interest in the Bengals backfield with him back against a Vikings defense that ranks 11th in run-defense DVOA. If Mixon is inactive, Gio Bernard becomes a high volume salary saver.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Both Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen are fantastic GPP options with Kyle Rudolph doubtful, but of the two I prefer Thielen. The Bengals were ripped up in the slot by Kendall Wright (!) last week and Adam Thielen will see the most time there between him and Diggs. He has been a PPR machine all season and one of my favorite wideout plays this week. A.J. Green is the lone option to really consider but he should see the majority of his snaps against Xavier Rhodes and that really hurts his fantasy value for me.
Overall Outlook- Vikings, Vikings and more Vikings.
Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Projected Vegas Score: Jaguars 24.75, Texans 13.25
Quarterbacks- T.J. Yates will start for the Texans with Tom Savage injured, and while he was serviceable in the absence of Savage last week we just aren't going to target him in DFS against the Jaguars defense. Blake Bortles has actually put up some really solid fantasy games with Leonard Fournette hobbled as of late and we have been targeting this banged up Texans secondary for weeks. He is in play for tournaments for me, I'm just concerned with the game script as the Jaguars should be winning this game with ease on Sunday.
Running Backs- Lamar Miller is going to be the Texans best chance of scoring points on Sunday, but even then that's a stretch. The Jaguars run defense has improved since they acquired Marcell Dareus from the Bills and I will be passing on Miller. Leonard Fournette is expected to be active but I don't think we will see a ton of him on Sunday. He's been hurt all season and the Jaguars need to conserve him for the playoffs paving the way for T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory to take on the bulk of the work. Of the two, I prefer Yeldon...but I don't love either of them and I prefer other value options on this slate.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- The Jaguars rank 1st in the NFL in pass-defense DVOA and I am not targeting any Texans pass catchers against them, even DeAndre Hopkins. Marqise Lee and Dede Westbrook are the main options for Bortles in the passing game and I really like both of them this week. It's tough to imagine this game staying close, but they both have been playing great as of late and could see increased passing volume with Fournette hobbled this weekend.
Overall Outlook- The Jaguars should roll on Sunday but it will pay to have one Jaguars stack in tournaments just in case.
New York Jets @ New Orleans Saints
Projected Vegas Score: Saints 31.75, Jets 15.75
Quarterbacks- Bryce Petty will be starting for the Jets in the wake of Josh McCown's broken hand. I think you guys know that the main play from this game is the Saints D/ST...meaning we won't be looking at any Jets. The decision in this game comes down to if you think Jets keep it close enough for the Saints offense to pay off value, or if you think the Saints will keep their foot on the gas and run up the score. For that reason, Brees is a tournament only option.
Running Backs- The Jets Running Backs are not in play in a game they are expected to be blown out even though the Saints rank just 23rd in run-defense DVOA. Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram have both been fantasy darlings this season, and Kamara will be back this week after suffering a concussion in their last game. Kamara is a top tourney play for me, at his price he will go under-owned and is averaging a touchdown every 14 touches this season. Mark Ingram is the safer option for me and is viable in all formats on Sunday.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Robby Anderson has a terrible matchup on the outside with Marshon Lattimore, but he has been the one constant (outside of McCown) for the Jets this season and they will be throwing a ton on Sunday. He has a good rapport with Bryce Petty already so I can see looking at him as a GPP flier. Michael Thomas is the ultimate tournament play on Sunday as everyone will flock to the RB-D/ST stacks. He is one of the best, and most consistent, fantasy wideouts and still hasn't had a huge eruption game this season.
Overall Outlook- All in on the Saints in this one, but I could see Robby breaking off a big play. The Saints have been susceptible to giving up big plays this season and Robby Anderson is a dynamic playmaker.
Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills
Projected Vegas Score: Bills 21, Dolphins 17.75
Quarterbacks- This is a prime letdown spot for the Dolphins coming off a HUGE Monday Night win over the Patriots. It's extremely hard to play in Buffalo, and even if the matchup was better I still wouldn't be considering Jay Cutler. It looks like Tyrod Taylor will be back for the Bills this week, and the matchup with the Dolphins is fantastic. That being said, it's extremely hard to trust a running QB coming off a knee-injury so I will look elsewhere.
Running Backs- This game features two of the chalkier Running Backs on the week in LeSean McCoy and Kenyan Drake. Drake has been surprisingly great for the Dolphins since they traded Jay Ajayi to Philly, and he is doing off back-to-back 140+ all-purpose yard games. The Bills have been gashed on the ground repeatedly in recent weeks and we can go right back to Drake in week 15. LeSean McCoy had a big game in the snow last week and they will need him again this week with Tyrod not 100%. Miami ranks 14th in run-defense DVOA, but they have been worse in recent weeks and Shady is in play in all formats.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Jarvis Landry is as consistent as they come in PPR formats, but I won't be looking his way mainly because I think the Dolphins have no chance in this game. The Bills have had no attractive Wide Receivers for DFS all season long so we will not be jumping on that train now.
Overall Outlook- Shady ad Drake or bust from this game.
Green Bay Packers @ Carolina Panthers
Projected Vegas Score: Panthers 25, Packers 22
Quarterbacks- He's baaaaaaaack. Aaron Rodgers returns this week in a must win game for the Packers who are trying to keep their playoff hopes alive. I love both of the Quarterback options in this game, and they are viable in all formats. Cam Newton has his rushing upside back and matches up great with the Packers who are 20th in pass-defense DVOA. Rodgers, you know, will want to ball out in his return and the Panthers are much more attackable through the air then on the ground.
Running Backs- Jamal Williams had another big game last week against the Browns putting up 27 fantasy points. He will benefit from Rodgers return, but I prefer the aerial attack this week. Jonathan Stewart rose from the dead and ran for 3 touchdowns last week against the Vikings, but I don't see that happening again. Christian McCaffrey isn't an amazing play, but he feels to have a higher upside in a close game with the Packers so I would be looking at him.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Jordy Nelson week! Jordy Nelson is ready to return to his throne among the Green Bay WR's now that Aaron Rodgers is back. He's viable in all formats this week at his price and you can also look at Davante Adams in tournaments. Devin Funchess will be extremely popular on Sunday in a plum matchup and has seen 6+ targets in every game except for week 1 this season.
Overall Outlook- Stack this game up!
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns
Projected Vegas Score: Ravens 24, Browns 16.5
Quarterbacks- Joe Flacco has had no upside from a DFS perspective this season, cracking 18 fantasy points just one time this season. The Browns defense is #bad and banged up, but in a divisional game on the road I'm not looking at Flacco this week. DeShone Kizer continues to have solid fantasy games despite lackluster real-life games. He has rushing upside, and he loves to throw the ball deep which is good for fantasy. The Ravens defense is completely different without Jimmy Smith and that keeps Kizer in the GPP pool in week 15.
Running Backs- Alex Collins is one of the top value RBs this week and is viable in all formats. He's seen 17+ touches in each game over the last 4 weeks and the Browns have surrounded over 100 all-purpose yards to opposing Running Backs over the last 4 games. I don't have much interest in the Browns Running Backs against a Ravens defense that ranks 8th in run-defense DVOA. I would prefer to attack them through the air.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Jeremy Maclin is the one Ravens pass catcher we can look at in GPPs, but his ceiling feels limited even against this Browns defense. Josh Gordon has been amazing since he returned but disappeared after a big first half last week against the Packers. Him, and Corey Coleman, are both fantastic GPP plays this week and should both go under-owned.
Overall Outlook- I love a contrarian Browns GPP stack but overall his game isn't the best of the week.
Analysis for the 4pm games will be posted shortly!
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)