Count On Titans’ Rishard Matthews To Score In a Shootout
If you’re reading this, congrats. You’re either playing for it all or you’re one step closer to the mountaintop. You drafted well, played the waiver wire like the guitar solo in Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality” and had every break fall your way.
Let’s take this home, shall we?
Oh: Happy Holidays. It’s always been cool to say that.
Santa Wears Black and Yellow (And He’s Pretty Tall)
I said last week to look for Martavis Bryant to break out against the Pats. He responded with 59 yards and a touchdown, but with Antonio Brown out for the remainder of the regular season, Bryant becomes -- in my opinion -- a dark horse WR1 at the Texans on Christmas Day. Houston is 30th in average Fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers and tied for 29th with 27 touchdown passes allowed. Rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster will get his share of targets and Eli Rogers will get some deep league love, but I feel it’s Bryant who will thrive on Monday.
Receiver Rishard Matthews has scored three of his four touchdowns over the past five weeks and while he gets a risky matchup against a Rams defense that has allowed the seventh-fewest Fantasy points per game to opposing receivers, keep in mind that Matthews has seen at least six targets in eight of his last nine games. LA is also a middling 20th in average yards per catch allowed and with Tennessee in must-win mode to keep their AFC playoff hopes alive, expect Matthews to be a frequent target. To me, he’s a good Flex option in a game that could be a shootout.
Because He’s a Wanderer...
Pats running back Dion Lewis is a Week 16 monster as he faces a Bills defense that is dead last in average Fantasy points allowed to opposing runners. With Rex Burkhead out, Lewis should receive the bulk of the touches, which is splendid news considering Lewis has averaged 5.3 yards per carry this month. He’s a strong back end RB1 whose value is stronger in PPR leagues.
Yes, No, Maybe (Subtitle: One of My Favorite Songs From Prince)
Yes: Vikings running back Latavius Murray has double-digit Fantasy points in four of his last six games and faces a wafer-thin Packers run defense that is 26th in average Fantasy points allowed to opposing backs. He’s rushed for at least 68 yards in five of his last six and will rebound from the 28-yard outing he had against Green Bay in Week 6.
No: I don’t feel good about Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant in what will be a Loser Leaves Town match against the Seahawks. Bryant has just nine combined targets in his last two games and hasn’t seen a double-digit outing since Week 11. Seattle is just 24th in average Fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers, but I’d expect Dallas to give the ‘Hawks a heaping helping of the returning Ezekiel Elliott, which is all the more reason not to consider Bryant anything more than a WR3/Flex.
Maybe: Oh, how I want to believe in Joe Mixon. The Bengals get a Fantasy-friendly Lions run defense that is 29th in average points given up to backs, and if Mixon passes concussion protocol, I can see him doing some damage. He’s averaged nearly five yards per carry in his last two games and even if he does share touches with Gio Bernard, Mixon would have intriguing Flex upside.
Come On, Come On, Come On and Touch (and Target) Me, Baby
C.J. Anderson, RB, Broncos: He’s had at least 19 touches in each of the last three weeks and faces a Redskins defense that is 28th in rushing yards allowed. Is it too much to ask for Anderson to find the end zone? With just two scores this season, Anderson is a risk, but the workload trends well for him to do so this week.
Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles: Nick Foles targeted him nine times last week and should push that number into double-digits against a Raiders team that’s 26th in average Fantasy points per game allowed to tight ends.
Devin Funchess, WR, Panthers: No team makes opposing receivers look like the second coming of Don Hutson (kids, Don Hutson was the first great wide...aw, hell, just look) like the Buccaneers, who have allowed nearly 2,700 yards to opposing wideouts. Funchess’ shoulder woes shouldn’t keep him on the sidelines, and if you own him, you’d better find room for him in your lineup.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals: It shouldn’t matter who the hell is throwing the ball to Fitz on Sunday, as the Giants have allowed a league-worst 30 touchdown passes. Fitzgerald has at least five receptions in five of his last six games and has had eight games of double-digit targets this season. Make it nine on Sunday, as Fitzgerald should find the end zone as a solid WR2 play.
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers: Touchdown receptions in two of his last three games makes McCaffrey a good play against the Bucs, who are 24th in average Fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs.
Mike Wallace, WR, Ravens: B-More has found its offensive stride in the last five weeks and gets the Christmas gift of a Colts pass defense that is 29th in yards allowed and 23rd in average Fantasy points allowed at wideout. Wallace has 34 targets in his last four games and is averaging an impressive 19.8 yards per catch this month. I like him as a WR3/Flex.
Gimme a Sleeper!
Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills has just three catches in the last two weeks, but faces a Chiefs pass defense that is 30th in yards per catch allowed. Stills is among the league leaders in receptions over 20 yards and should make the most of a downfield shot or two.