Through 15 weeks, our Position vs. Fantasy Defensive Points Allowed tool has become a strong tool to identify good matchups. Now it’s time to play for your fantasy title, and you don’t want to get caught missing any details or advantageous situations.
As always, please remember that the players listed are mostly meant to be borderline guys, who need reasons for you to play or bench them. You won’t see recommendations to start David Johnson and Antonio Brown, because you should always start Johnson and Brown. If a player is close to the start/sit fence, we’ll push him one way or the other.
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Note: The fantasy points per game (FPPG) referenced below are from FOXSports.com standard leagues.
Thursday game: Chargers at Raiders
Stay away: Matt Ryan, Falcons (vs. Panthers)
The Panthers allowed 38 points against the Saints in Week 13 and 35 to the Giants in Week 15. In between, they shut out the Falcons at home. Despite their recent inconsistency, Luke Kuechly’s crew ranks second with just 12.8 FPPG given up to opposing quarterbacks. Don’t go to bat for Ryan in your fantasy final.
It’s usually a stretch to call anything about the Patriots underrated, but their defense ranks a strong sixth with 14.4 FPPG allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been terrific lately, but he’s only borderline as a fantasy QB1.
Cousins has scored 24.2, 15.4, 23,3 and 43,9 FOXSports.com fantasy points over his last four games. Against an Eagles’ defense that ranks 26th with 19.1 FPPG allowed to opposing quarterbacks, he once again looks like a strong play. DeSean Jackson’s return to health has coincided with a good stretch for Cousins, and the Eagles’ secondary is banged up.
Teddy Bridgewater had his biggest game of the season in Week 15, throwing four touchdown passes. However, he’s mainly here because he’s got a home game against a Giants’ defense that allows 21 FPPG to opposing quarterbacks. Bridgewater doesn’t throw enough to light it up every week, but his numbers here should be solid.
Stay away: Buck Allen, Ravens (vs. Steelers)
Oh, Buck. Why do you keep fumbling? Sure, your coach said after Sunday’s game that your latest miscue won’t get you banished, but against a tough Steeler D that ranks second with just 13.1 FPPG allowed to opposing runners, you might want to stay on the fantasy bench.
Hey, I was right about Ameer Abdullah finally scoring! It took two months, but better late than never, right? Abdullah and the Lions face the 30th-ranked 49ers fantasy defense (23.9 FPPG to opposing RBs) on Sunday, so he’s got a decent chance to post good numbers again. Consider Abdullah flex-worthy.
Stay away: James Jones, Packers (at Cardinals)
Jones went 6-82-1 at Oakland in Week 15, but this week’s matchup with a solid Cardinals’ pass defense (20.5 FPPG to opposing WRs) isn’t a great one, even with Arizona missing star DB Tyrann Mathieu. See you next season, Honey Badger.
I feel like I was one of the first people on the Ted Ginn Jr. fantasy bandwagon this season. This week, I think I’m off. Ginn gets a matchup with a somewhat underrated Falcons’ defense that ranks second with 16.1 FPPG allowed to opposing wide receivers. Ginn caught two passes for 120 yards and two scores versus the Falcons in Week 14, but was targeted only three times. For all the good things about Ginn this season, one bad thing is that Cam Newton likes to spread the ball around.
The Colts rank 27th with 26.2 FPPG allowed to opposing wideouts. Parker has been steadily improving, going 13-246-2 over his last four games, and getting five or more targets in each of them (26 total). Parker looks like an interesting WR3.
Markus Wheaton faces a Ravens’ defense that ranks dead last with 28.7 FPPG allowed to opposing wide receivers. Wheaton is Pittsburgh’s third receiving option, but that’s not so bad in this explosive offense with such an enticing matchup. Since his nine-catch, 201-yard explosion at Seattle in Week 12, Wheaton has posted a respectable 13-177-2 line in three games.
Seferian-Jenkins caught a garbage-time TD last Thursday against the Rams, and has notched three receptions in each of his last three games. You might be tempted to stream ASJ, but I’d avoid him against a Bears’ defense that ranks sixth with 6.3 FPPG allowed to opposing tight ends. Will Tye and Zach Ertz look like better options.
Play, play, play: Julius Thomas, Jaguars (at Saints)
Do you need to be told to start Thomas at this point? He’s facing the Saints (12.3 FPPG to opposing TEs), in case you needed a reminder.
Further down the ladder is Minnesota’s Kyle Rudolph, who squares off with a Giants’ defense that ranks 30th with 10.8 FPPG allowed to opposing tight ends. Rudolph is owned in just 56.2 percent of FOXSports.com leagues, so you might be able to grab him.