NFL Game Previews: Week 18 Matchups

NFL Game Previews: Week 18 Matchups

This article is part of our NFL Game Previews series.

Green Bay at Detroit (+3.5), o/u 44.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EST

The Packers have nothing to play for here other than keeping people healthy. They've locked up the top seed in the NFC, and a first-round bye, so there could be some "too long a layoff" calculations at play for Matt LaFleur, but for the most part the goal will be to get Aaron Rodgers to the playoffs in one piece. The patchwork offensive line they could trot out should also provide extra incentive to get Jordan Love into the game as soon as possible. The Lions could still slip into the No. 1 pick in next year's draft if the Jaguars win, but No. 2 should do well enough for a roster that has a lot of holes to plug. Jared Goff might suit up for this one after missing the last two games, but then again he might not. A 17:8 TD:INT through 13 games isn't terrible, but his 6.5 YPA ranks 27th out of 32 QB qualifiers this season, behind such luminaries as Davis Mills and Daniel Jones. That's not the kind of company you want to keep if you want to make sure you have a starting job in 2022, and while you can make excuses for Goff's lack of dependable receiving options this year, Amon-Ra St. Brown's late-season surge hasn't been affected at all by having Tim Boyle under center.

The Skinny

GB injuries: RB Aaron Jones (questionable, knee), WR Randall Cobb

Green Bay at Detroit (+3.5), o/u 44.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EST

The Packers have nothing to play for here other than keeping people healthy. They've locked up the top seed in the NFC, and a first-round bye, so there could be some "too long a layoff" calculations at play for Matt LaFleur, but for the most part the goal will be to get Aaron Rodgers to the playoffs in one piece. The patchwork offensive line they could trot out should also provide extra incentive to get Jordan Love into the game as soon as possible. The Lions could still slip into the No. 1 pick in next year's draft if the Jaguars win, but No. 2 should do well enough for a roster that has a lot of holes to plug. Jared Goff might suit up for this one after missing the last two games, but then again he might not. A 17:8 TD:INT through 13 games isn't terrible, but his 6.5 YPA ranks 27th out of 32 QB qualifiers this season, behind such luminaries as Davis Mills and Daniel Jones. That's not the kind of company you want to keep if you want to make sure you have a starting job in 2022, and while you can make excuses for Goff's lack of dependable receiving options this year, Amon-Ra St. Brown's late-season surge hasn't been affected at all by having Tim Boyle under center.

The Skinny

GB injuries: RB Aaron Jones (questionable, knee), WR Randall Cobb (IR-R, groin), LT David Bakhtiari (questionable, knee), C Josh Myers (IR-R, knee), RT Billy Turner (doubtful, knee/COVID-19), LB De'Vondre Campbell (questionable, elbow), OLB Za'Darius Smith (IR, back), CB Jaire Alexander (out, shoulder)

DET injuries: QB Goff (questionable, knee), WR Josh Reynolds (questionable, thigh), TE Brock Wright (questionable, groin), LT Taylor Decker (questionable, COVID-19), LG Jonah Jackson (questionable, elbow), RT Penei Sewell (questionable, COVID-19), DE Michael Brockers (questionable, neck), LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (questionable, shoulder)

GB DFS targets: Rodgers $7,800 DK / $8,200 FD and Love $5,500 DK / $6,700 FD (DET 30th in passing yards per game allowed, 30th in TD% allowed), AJ Dillon $6,200 DK / $7,300 FD (DET 31st in rushing DVOA, 31st in passing DVOA vs. RB), Josiah Deguara $2,900 DK / $4,600 FD (DET 31st in DVOA vs. TE)

DET DFS targets: D'Andre Swift $5,900 DK / $7,000 FD (GB 28th in rushing DVOA, 31st in YPC allowed)

GB DFS fades: none

DET DFS fades: Kalif Raymond $3,700 DK / $5,000 FD (GB second in DVOA vs. WR3)

Key stat: GB is t-8th in third-down conversions at 42.6 percent; DET is 28th in third-down defense at 44.2 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 7-4 GB, average score 26-25 DET, average margin of victory 13 points. GB has won five straight meetings

Weather forecast: dome

The Scoop Dillon rumbles for 70 yards and two TDs, while Patrick Taylor chips in 40 yards. Rodgers tosses a touchdown to Davante Adams while the starters are on the field before Love wraps up, throwing for 220 yards and a score to Deguara. Swift gains 100 combined yards and a TD. Goff plays and throws for 240 yards but gets picked off twice. Packers 31-16

Indianapolis at Jacksonville (+14.5), o/u 43.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EST

The Colts need a win (or three other teams to lose) to secure their ticket to the postseason, so it's a good thing they're playing the team with the worst record in the league, even if it's a team they tend to struggle against and haven't beaten in Jacksonville since 2014. Jonathan Taylor's MVP campaign seems to have petered out as everyone resigns themselves to another Rodgers or Brady win, but he still leads the NFL in rushing yards (more than 500 ahead of Joe Mixon), scrimmage yards (about 250 ahead of Cooper Kupp) and touchdowns, and if he's allowed to run roughshod over the Jags here, he could become the first player with 20 rushing TDs in a season since LaDainian Tomlinson's ridiculous 28 in 2006. Indy's also mostly healthy, so they really have no reason not to go all out here. Jacksonville's staring down the barrel of another first overall pick after Urban Meyer's disastrous reign set them back even further than they were last year. You can see glimmers of potential on the roster (if you include all the injured guys, at least) and with a real coach in place in 2022, a strong draft and a course correction from Trevor Lawrence, they could be one of those really interesting fantasy teams that boasts a dangerous offense and a toreador defense. In the final days of 2021 though, the Jags feature an offense that hasn't scored more than 23 points in a game all year, and which only reached 20 once in its last 10.

The Skinny

IND injuries: K Rodrigo Blankenship (IR, hip), DT DeForest Buckner (questionable, knee), CB Xavier Rhodes (out, hamstring), S Andrew Sendejo (doubtful, concussion/COVID-19)

JAC injuries: TE James O'Shaughnessy (out, hip), LT Cam Robinson (questionable, COVID-19), C Brandon Linder (questionable, COVID-19), S Andrew Wingard (doubtful, COVID-19)

IND DFS targets: Michael Pittman $5,900 DK / $6,600 FD (JAC 32nd in DVOA vs. WR1), T.Y. Hilton $4,700 DK / $5,400 FD (JAC 31st in DVOA vs. WR2), Colts DEF $3,800 DK / $4,800 FD (t-1st in takeaways, JAC 32nd in giveaways, 32nd in points per game)

JAC DFS targets: none

IND DFS fades: none

JAC DFS fades: Laquon Treadwell $4,400 DK / $5,300 FD (IND second in DVOA vs. WR2), Laviska Shenault $3,700 DK / $5,200 FD (IND fourth in DVOA vs. WR3), Jaguars DEF $2,300 DK / $3,000 FD (32nd in takeaways, IND t-2nd in sacks allowed)

Key stat: IND is 12th in third-down conversions at 41.4 percent; JAC is 26th in third-down defense at 43.5 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 6-5 JAC, average score 23-19 JAC, average margin of victory 12 points. JAC has won six straight home games in this rivalry

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the low 70s, less than 10 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop Taylor romps for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Wentz throws for 250 yards and a TD to Pittman. Dare Ogunbowale picks up 70 combined yards and a receiving score, while Ryquell Armstead punches in a short TD. Lawrence throws for 220 yards and a second touchdown to Kahale Warring – Lawrence's first multi-TD performance since Week 1. Colts 30-14

Washington at N.Y. Giants (+7), o/u 37.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EST

Does anybody really want to watch this game? There are nine teams with double-digits losses in the NFL right now, and these are two of them. Combined, they've lost nine straight games coming into Sunday. There isn't even any compelling draft drama; the Giants will finish somewhere between No. 3 and No. 6 with their own pick (they also have Chicago's first-rounder, which is another likely top-10 selection) while Washington will be in the 7-12 range. Washington still has some decent weapons in Antonio Gibson and Terry McLaurin, but Taylor Heinicke's play down the stretch (5:6 TD:INT, 6.1 YPA in his last five starts) makes it clear the team will need a new QB along with its new nickname. The Giants have some decisions to make in the offseason at quarterback too, but in the meantime third-stringer Jake Fromm will be playing out the string. The biggest decision for Dave Gettleman's replacement will be what to do with Saquon Barkley, though. He's heading into the final year of his rookie deal, and while he's the team's best asset on offense if he's 100 percent, how much do you want to invest in a guy who's missed 21 games over the last three seasons?

The Skinny

WAS injuries: RB J.D. McKissic (IR, concussion), WR Curtis Samuel (out, hamstring), TE Ricky Seals-Jones (out, concussion), DE Montez Sweat (out, personal), CB William Jackson (questionable, COVID-19)

NYG injuries: QB Glennon (out, wrist), WR Kadarius Toney (out, shoulder), RG Will Hernandez (questionable, ankle)

WAS DFS targets: Washington DEF $3,100 DK / $5,000 FD (NYG t-28th in giveaways, 31st in points per game)

NYG DFS targets: Fromm $4,800 DK / $6,200 FD (WAS 30th in passing yards per game allowed, 31st in TD% allowed), Darius Slayton $3,800 DK / $5,000 FD (WAS 32nd in DVOA vs. WR2)

WAS DFS fades: none

NYG DFS fades: none

Key stat: NYG are 32nd in red-zone conversions at 45.9 percent; WAS is 20th in red-zone defense at 60.3 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 7-4 NYG, average score 24-19 NYG, average margin of victory eight points. The last four meetings have been decided by six points or less

Weather forecast: overcast, temperature in the mid-30s, 10-11 mph wind, 25-40 percent chance of rain/snow

The Scoop Gibson runs for 80 yards and a score. Heinicke throws for 230 yards and a TD to Cam Sims. Barkley pieces together 70 yards. Fromm throws for under 200 yards and gets picked off twice. Washington 17-9

Chicago (+5.5) at Minnesota, o/u 44.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EST

With both these teams eliminated from the playoff picture, and the Bears not even holding their first-round pick in 2022, there's nothing but animosity fueling this game. Fortunately, both teams hate each other – maybe not as much as they each hate the Packers, but more than they each hate the Lions. Chicago's won two straight without Justin Fields under center, and Matt Nagy's turning to Andy Dalton again for this one, with COVID-19 seemingly taking the decision out of Nagy's hands. The jury's still out on Fields for the long haul, as his passing numbers this season were poor, but if he follows the Jalen Hurts trajectory in 2022 the Bears will be OK with it. The Vikings have to rank as one of the season's biggest disappointments. By the numbers, they should probably still be playing after this week – I actually have them as about the 10th-best squad in the NFL by my projection formula, albeit seventh in the NFC – but their consistent inconsistency and uncanny ability to play down to the level of seemingly inferior competition has guaranteed Minnesota a losing record no matter what happens here. Last week's rout at Lambeau was only the second time all season they played a game decided by more than a single score, but Mike Zimmer has given no sign he'll do anything but play his starters, and it would be kind if fitting of they waited until it was far too late to finally put everything together.

The Skinny

CHI injuries: QB Fields (doubtful, COVID-19), RB Tarik Cohen (out, knee), DT Akiem Hicks (out, ankle), OLB Robert Quinn (questionable, shoulder), CB Duke Shelley (questionable, heel)

MIN injuries: WR Adam Thielen (IR, ankle), LT Christian Darrisaw (questionable, COVID-19), LG Ezra Cleveland (questionable, COVID-19), DE Everson Griffen (out, personal), LB Eric Kendricks (questionable, COVID-19), CB Mackensie Alexander (questionable, ankle)

CHI DFS targets: David Montgomery $6,800 DK / $7,600 FD (MIN 25th in rushing DVOA, 30th in YPC allowed)

MIN DFS targets: Vikings DEF $2,900 DK / $3,700 FD (CHI t-30th in sacks allowed, t-28th in giveaways)

CHI DFS fades: none

MIN DFS fades: none

Key stat: CHI is 30th in red-zone conversions at 50.0 percent; MIN is 15th in red-zone defense at 57.9 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 6-5 CHI, average score 19-18 MIN, average margin of victory 10 points. The last four meetings have been decided by a single score. CHI has won three straight meetings at U.S. Bank Stadium

Weather forecast: dome

The Scoop Montgomery bangs out 90 scrimmage yards and a TD. Dalton throws for under 200 yards and a touchdown to Darnell Mooney, but gets sacked four times and picked off twice, one of which Harrison Smith returns to the house. Dalvin Cook rips off 100 combined yards and a score. Kirk Cousins throws for 280 yards and two touchdowns, both to Justin Jefferson (who tops 100 yards). Vikings 34-14

Tennessee at Houston (+10), o/u 42.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EST

This should be the spotlight game on the early slate. The Titans will be playing for the No. 1 seed in the AFC (even if Kansas City loses Saturday, a Tennessee loss as well opens the door for Cincy or New England to sneak in), and that first-round bye is arguably more critical for them than any other team with Derrick Henry inching closer to a return. It's the Titans' defense that's kept them afloat while Henry's been sidelined though. In four games since their bye, they've allowed less than 10 points a game (9.8 a game on average) while piling up eight takeaways. They've won three of those four, and while the passing game has been the least important part of their success, Ryan Tannehill does have both A.J. Brown and Julio Jones available again. The Texans are going down swinging though, winning two of their last three, and their Week 11 upset of the Titans is going to loom large in the pre-game narrative. Davis Mills is benefiting from low expectations to some extent, but his 68.1 percent completion rate, 6:2 TD:INT and 6.9 YPA over the last four games are all pretty solid all things considered. Brandin Cooks has been the biggest beneficiary during that stretch (22-269-3 on 32 targets despite missing one of those games), but Rex Burkhead has also had his usual brief burst of productivity and earned himself a 2022 extension. (Because that's what every rebuilding team needs, a running back who'll be 32 before training camp next year).

The Skinny

TEN injuries: RB Henry (IR-R, foot)

HOU injuries: QB Deshaun Watson (out), WR Chris Conley (questionable, knee), LT Laremy Tunsil (IR, thumb), S Justin Reid (doubtful, COVID-19)

TEN DFS targets: D'Onta Foreman $5,700 DK / $6,900 FD (HOU 32nd in rushing yards per game allowed, 29th in YPC allowed, 31st in rushing TDs allowed), Jones $5,000 DK / $5,700 FD (HOU 28th in DVOA vs. WR2), Geoff Swaim $3,300 DK / $4,700 FD (HOU 30th in DVOA vs. TE)

HOU DFS targets: none

TEN DFS fades: none

HOU DFS fades: Burkhead $5,200 DK / $5,600 FD and David Johnson $4,300 DK / $5,100 FD (TEN second in rushing yards per game allowed), Brevin Jordan $2,700 DK / $4,600 FD (TEN fourth in DVOA vs. TE)

Key stat: HOU is 28th in red-zone conversions at 51.4 percent; TEN is seventh in red-zone defense at 51.8 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 6-5 TEN, average score 27-25 HOU, average margin of victory 12 points 

Weather forecast: retractable roof

The Scoop Foreman thunders for 100 yards and a touchdown. Tannehill throws for 260 yards and a score to Swaim. Burkhead leads the HOU backfield with 60 combined yards. Mills throws for 240 yards and two TDs, hitting Cooks and Nico Collins. Titans 20-17

Pittsburgh (+3.5) at Baltimore, o/u 40.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EST

Both these teams are still technically alive for a wild-card spot, although they'll need the Colts to lose and get help elsewhere to stay alive (Pittsburgh fans will be the only ones rooting against the chaos of that Chargers-Raiders tie scenario if all the dominoes otherwise fall the Steelers' way). Coming off the emotional high of Ben Roethlisberger's last home game, the Steelers could come out firing or be in for a big letdown, but they haven't won two games in a row since late October/early November so the latter seems more likely. T.J. Watt is one sack shy of tying the official all-time record, and the Ravens have given up more sacks than anybody this season, so his chances of breaking Michael Strahan's mark – and winning a Defensive Player of the Year award as well – seem pretty, pretty, pretty good. Baltimore, on the other hand, is limping to the finish line having lost five straight, and Lamar Jackson isn't making a triumphant return to try and salvage the season. Tyler Huntley's been shockingly good in his place the last few weeks, but not good enough to steal a win against tough competition, which is all that's mattered in the end. It's mind-boggling how many injuries they've had to deal with, from the backfield to the secondary, and I stand by my belief that John Harbaugh should be Coach of the Year just for keeping them relevant this long.

The Skinny

PIT injuries: LT Dan Moore (doubtful, ankle), LG Kevin Dotson (IR-R, ankle), C B.J. Finney (IR, back), DE Stephon Tuitt (IR, undisclosed) 

BAL injuries: QB Jackson (out, ankle), WR Devin Duvernay (questionable, ankle), LG Ben Powers (questionable, foot), LG Ben Cleveland (questionable, head), CB Anthony Averett (out, ribs)

PIT DFS targets: Roethlisberger $5,400 DK / $6,700 FD (BAL 30th in passing DVOA, 32nd in passing yards per game allowed, 31st in YPA allowed), Chase Claypool $5,100 DK / $5,800 FD (BAL 29th in DVOA vs. WR2), Steelers DEF $3,000 DK / $3,500 FD (first in sacks, BAL 32nd in sacks allowed)

BAL DFS targets: Devonta Freeman $5,200 DK / $5,600 FD and Latavius Murray $4,400 DK / $5,100 FD (PIT 31st in rushing yards per game allowed, 32nd in YPC allowed)

PIT DFS fades: none

BAL DFS fades: none

Key stat: BAL is 22nd in third-down conversions at 41.1 percent; PIT is 11th in third-down defense at 38.1 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 7-4 PIT, average score 23-22 BAL, average margin of victory seven points. PIT has won three straight meetings. Five of the last six meetings have been decided by a single score

Weather forecast: overcast, temperature in the low 30s, 10 mph wind, 40-70 percent chance of rain/snow

The Scoop Najee Harris manages 70 scrimmage yards. Roethlisberger throws for 210 yards and two TDs, finding Claypool and Pat Freiermuth. Freeman leads the BAL backfield with 80 yards, while Murray adds 40 and a score. Huntley throws for under 200 yards and gets sacked five times, with Watt setting a new NFL record in the process. Steelers 17-16

Cincinnati (+6.5) at Cleveland, o/u 37.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EST

The Bengals could be shut out of any shot at the No. 1 seed before they take the field if Kansas City wins Saturday, but the AFC North is theirs and they're really just jockeying for a potential home game after the wild-card round. As a result, Zac Taylor is taking no chances, and Joe Burrow isn't even travelling with the team to Cleveland, putting Brandon Allen under center just as a COVID-19 wave hits a number of other key pieces. Needless to say, the spread has done a bit of a flip (Cincy was favored by about a field goal as recently as Tuesday). It might be an overreaction – the Browns will also be sending out their backup QB, and Allen's available wideouts are a whole lot better than Case Keenum's – but my own little algorithm pretty much agrees, even if my gut has second thoughts. The Bengals have won three straight, but last week's big victory over K.C. might have been a prelude to a letdown anyway, and the Browns have had their number lately. Baker Mayfield finally getting the surgery he should have had months ago at least takes the focus off what's wrong with the offense and might allow Kevin Stefanski to remember what's right with it, namely the running game. Nick Chubb exploded for 163 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns the last time these two teams met, and even if Kareem Hunt doesn't make it back for a last hurrah in 2021, D'Ernest Johnson remains a more than capable understudy when Chubb needs a breather. The Lake Erie weather would also seem to be in Cleveland's corner, or at least on the side of whoever can find more success on the ground.

The Skinny

CIN injuries: QB Burrow (out, knee), RB Joe Mixon (doubtful, COVID-19), TE C.J. Uzomah (questionable, knee), LG Quinton Spain (out, ankle), C Trey Hopkins (questionable, COVID-19), RG Xavier Su'a-Filo (IR-R, knee), RT Riley Reiff (IR, ankle), K Evan McPherson (questionable, groin), DE Sam Hubbard (questionable, thigh), DE Trey Hendrickson (questionable, COVID-19), S Vonn Bell (questionable, COVID-19)

CLE injuries: QB Mayfield (IR, shoulder), RB Hunt (questionable, ankle), TE David Njoku (questionable, shoulder), CB Denzel Ward (out, groin/COVID-19), S Ronnie Harrison (questionable, ankle), S John Johnson (questionable, hamstring)

CIN DFS targets: none

CLE DFS targets: Austin Hooper $3,600 DK / $5,100 FD and Njoku $3,200 DK / $4,900 FD (CIN 28th in DVOA vs. TE)

CIN DFS fades: none

CLE DFS fades: none

Key stat: CLE is sixth in red-zone conversions at 63.0 percent; CIN is 22nd in red-zone defense at 61.2 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 6-5 CLE, average score 26-25 CIN, average margin of victory 13 points. CLE has won six of the last seven meetings, including three straight at home

Weather forecast: overcast, temperature in the mid-30s, 15-19 mph wind, 10-45 percent chance of rain/snow

The Scoop Samaje Perine leads the CIN backfield with 60 yards, while Chris Evans adds 50 combined yards. Allen throws for under 200 yards but does hit Ja'Marr Chase for a score. Chubb steamrolls for 120 yards and two touchdowns. Keenum also throws for under 200 yards. Browns 17-10

San Francisco (+4.5) at L.A. Rams, o/u 44.5 – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EST

Now we're talking. The 49ers come into Sunday needing a win, or a Saints loss, to secure a wild-card spot. The Rams, on the other hand, need a win (or a Cardinals loss) to lock up the NFC West title. The Niners have won three of their last four and didn't miss a beat with Trey Lance under center last week (granted, it was against the Texans), which gives Kyle Shanahan a tough decision here as Jimmy Garoppolo pretty clearly won't be 100 percent. Shanahan seems to prefer Jimmy G, but does he really want to risk a playoff spot on Garoppolo's busted hand? I wouldn't put a bait and switch past him either, where he lets Garoppolo start and then subs in Lance if it's not working out. (Sheesh. Even in the games where teams are going all out, you can't count on the starters playing a full game. Week 18 was a mistake). Elijah Mitchell being back in form is going to take the pressure off the passing game regardless of who's slinging it, though. The Rams are even hotter, winning five straight to move them into position for a division title. The defense has been leading the way, allowing only 16.4 points a game during the winning streak, and the Von Miller addition has looked like a stroke of genius as he has four sacks in the last three. It's a good thing too as Matthew Stafford has suddenly looked like he's wearing a Lions uniform again. Eleven TDs, a near 70 percent completion rate and a 7.9 YPA in those five games is good. Six INTs in the last three? Not so much. Stafford's struggles haven't derailed Cooper Kupp's march towards pseudo-history, as he's poised to become only the fourth player in history to claim a receiving Triple Crown (receptions, yards and TDs – Jerry Rice, Sterling Sharpe and Steve Smith are the other three). He also needs 12 catches to pass Michael Thomas for the "single-season" receptions record and 136 yards to pass Calvin Johnson for that record too, although of course Kupp got an extra game to do it. His record of 12 straight games (and counting?) with at least 90 receiving yards is legit, though.

The Skinny

SF injuries: QB Garoppolo (questionable, thumb), LT Trent Williams (questionable, elbow), LB Dre Greenlaw (questionable, groin), LB Azeez Al-Shaair (questionable, knee), S Jaquiski Tartt (questionable, shoulder)

LAR injuries: RB Darrell Henderson (IR, knee), LB Ernest Jones (IR, ankle)

SF DFS targets: none

LAR DFS targets: Kupp $9,700 DK / $10,000 FD (SF 30th in DVOA vs. WR1)

SF DFS fades: Garoppolo $5,500 DK / $7,000 FD and Lance $5,500 DK / $7,000 FD (LAR fifth in passing DVOA, second in TD% allowed), Mitchell $6,000 DK / $8,000 FD (LAR fifth in YPC allowed)

LAR DFS fades: Sony Michel $6,000 DK / $7,700 FD and Cam Akers $4,700 DK / $5,500 FD (SF second in rushing DVOA), Tyler Higbee $4,000 DK / $5,500 FD (SF second in DVOA vs. TE)

Key stat: LAR are t-8th in third-down conversions at 42.6 percent; SF is 13th in third-down defense at 38.4 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 8-3 SF, average score 27-22 SF, average margin of victory 13 points. SF has won five straight meetings

Weather forecast: dome

The Scoop Mitchell picks up 70 yards and a TD. Lance starts and throws for 240 yards while getting picked off twice, but he does run in a score. Michel leads the LAR backfield with 60 yards and a touchdown. Stafford rebounds, throwing for 300 yards and three TDs – two to Kupp, who tops 100 yards but falls short of Thomas and Johnson's records, and one to Van Jefferson. Rams 31-20

Carolina (+8) at Tampa Bay, o/u 41.5 – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EST

The Panthers have nothing on the line but a chance to sneak into the top five in next year's draft, while the Bucs could move up to the No. 2 seed with a win and a Rams loss but otherwise have nothing to play for. Matt Rhule will probably keep his QB rotation going, where Sam Darnold starts and Cam Newton sees some action if by some miracle Darnold gets them into the red zone, because what are his other options? Rhule's reputation has taken some big hits this season, and the Jay-Z comparisons aren't helping, but I still think there are far worse options the Panthers could bring in if they decide to cut him loose in the offseason. The Antonio Brown Thing has become a huge potential distraction for Tampa and hasn't necessarily done Bruce Arians' rep any favors, but AB releasing those texts at least made it clear that Arians WILL NOT be resting guys. To be fair, they might have a good reason to go full bore here, as Tom Brady still needs to figure out who he's going to be throwing to other than Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski. Getting a tuneup matchup against a team like the Panthers and their gutted secondary could be just what Brady needs.

The Skinny

CAR injuries: WR Robby Anderson (questionable, quadriceps), LT Cameron Erving (IR, calf), CB Stephon Gilmore (doubtful, COVID-19)

TB injuries: RB Leonard Fournette (IR, hamstring), RB Ronald Jones (out, ankle), WR Jsutin Watson (out, quadriceps), C Ryan Jensen (questionable, shoulder), LB Lavonte David (IR, foot), OLB Jason Pierre-Paul (out, shoulder), OLB Shaquil Barrett (out, knee/COVID-19), CB Richard Sherman (doubtful, Achilles)

CAR DFS targets: none

TB DFS targets: Cyril Grayson $4,400 DK / $5,600 FD (CAR 30th in DVOA vs. WR3), Buccaneers DEF $4,000 DK / $4,200 FD (CAR 29th in sacks allowed, t-28th in giveaways)

CAR DFS fades: Panthers DEF $2,500 DK / $3,400 FD (TB first in sacks allowed, second in points per game)

TB DFS fades: Gronkowski $6,300 DK / $7,400 FD (CAR fifth in DVOA vs. TE)

Key stat: TB is second in red-zone conversions at 64.6 percent; CAR is 26th in red-zone defense at 65.3 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 7-4 TB, average score 24-20 TB, average margin of victory 11 points. TB has won five of the last six meetings, The last four meetings have been decided by 11 points or more

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the low 80s, less than 10 mph wind, 1-5 percent chance of rain

The Scoop Chuba Hubbard gains 50 yards, while Ameer Abdullah adds 50 combined yards. Darnold throws for under 200 yards and a TD to DJ Moore. Ke'Shawn Vaughn leads the TB backfield with 80 yards and a score, while Le'Veon Bell chips in 40. Brady throws for 310 yards and two touchdowns, finding Evans (who tops 100 yards) and Grayson. Buccaneers 30-7

Seattle (+6.5) at Arizona, o/u 48.0 – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EST

The Seahawks have pulled out of their tailspin a little, going 3-2 in their last five games, but it's been far too little and too late to save their season. The emergence of Rashaad Penny has allowed Pete Carroll to run the offense he likes, and while that hasn't done much for Russell Wilson's yardage totals, he does have a 10:2 TD:INT over those five games after lighting up the Lions last week. Seattle's got some tough decisions to make in the offseason on whether to bring any of those guys back (I mean, it shouldn't be a tough decision to bring Russ back rather than trade him even if they do otherwise blow everything up, but front offices often find a way to overthink these things), but in the here and now, all they can do is play spoiler for the Cardinals' hopes of an NFC West title. Arizona did snap a three-game losing streak last week in Dallas, but it's impossible to say whether that performance said more about the Cards or the Cowboys. Kyler Murray did look a little better, but he still only has a 6.7 YPA and 4:3 TD:INT over his last four games while failing to run for a TD, keeping the question open whether his ankle is 100 percent. If this game gets out of hand one way or the other, or the Rams result on the out-of-town scoreboard isn't going the Cards' way, it wouldn't shock me if Kliff Kingsbury gave Murray a rest in the second half. Heck, Colt McCoy lit up Seattle's secondary for 328 passing yards and two TDs last time the teams faced each other, so it may not even be much of a downgrade for the offense.

The Skinny

SEA injuries: RG Gabe Jackson (questionable, knee), RT Brandon Shell (IR, shoulder), DE Carlos Dunlap (questionable, ankle), LB Bobby Wagner (out, knee), S Ryan Neal (doubtful, COVID-19)

ARI injuries: RB James Conner (questionable, heel), RB Chase Edmonds (out, ribs), WR DeAndre Hopkins (IR, knee), WR Rondale Moore (out, ankle), DE J.J. Watt (IR-R, shoulder), CB Robert Alford (IR, pectoral), CB Marco Wilson (out, shoulder)

SEA DFS targets: Dee Eskridge $3,300 DK / $4,600 FD (ARI 29th in DVOA vs. WR3)

ARI DFS targets: Murray $7,400 DK / $8,400 FD (SEA 27th in passing DVOA, 31st in passing yards per game allowed)

SEA DFS fades: Tyler Lockett $6,400 DK / $6,900 FD (ARI third in DVOA vs. WR1), Gerald Everett $3,700 DK / $4,900 FD (ARI third in DVOA vs. TE)

ARI DFS fades: none

Key stat: SEA is 27th in third-down conversions at 35.4 percent; ARI is fifth in third-down defense at 36.4 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 5-5-1, average score 22-22, average margin of victory six points. ARI has won three of the last four meetings

Weather forecast: dome

The Scoop Penny racks up 90 scrimmage yards and a receiving TD. Wilson throws for 320 yards and three more touchdowns, finding DK Metcalf (who tops 100 yards) twice and Eskridge once. Conner plays, but Eno Benjamin leads the ARI backfield with 70 yards and a score. Murray throws for 270 yards and two TDs, hitting Zach Ertz and Christian Kirk, while also running for 50 yards and a touchdown. Cardinals 31-28

New England at Miami (+6), o/u 39.5 – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EST

The Patriots should be geared up for this one, as not only can they still claim the AFC East title with a win and a Jets upset of the Bills, but they even have a narrow path to the No. 1 seed if Kansas City loses Saturday and the Titans get dumped earlier in the day. They've also got a Week 1 loss to the Dolphins to avenge, for whatever that's worth. The momentum the Pats had prior to their bye, when they were reeling off seven straight wins, is long gone though, and crushing the Jaguars won't get it back. The defense gets most of the attention, but New England's offense has been quietly effective this year, and both the two-headed backfield with Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson and the passing game headed by rookie Mac Jones seem capable of stepping up... sometimes. Miami's playoff hopes got thoroughly squashed last week by the Titans, ending their own seven-game winning streak, but they can still mess up the plans for Brian Flores' old boss at least a little. Tua Tagovailoa continues to try and lock up the starting job for 2022, but his recent play isn't making much of a case as he has a 58.2 percent completion rate, 3:4 TD:INT and 6.6 YPA over the last three games. This matchup isn't a great one for his chances of turning things around, but he can at least get his new best friend to some big milestones – Jaylen Waddle is one catch short of 100, and 12 yards shy of 1,000.

The Skinny

NE injuries: RB Harris (questionable, hamstring), WR Jakobi Meyers (questionable, thigh), LT Isaiah Wynn (questionable, hip), C David Andrews (questionable, shoulder), K Nick Folk (questionable, knee), LB Dont'a Hightower (out, knee), S Kyle Dugger (out, hand)

MIA injuries: none

NE DFS targets: Kendrick Bourne $5,000 DK / $5,600 FD (MIA 31st in DVOA vs. WR3), Hunter Henry $4,000 DK / $5,600 FD (MIA 29th in DVOA vs. TE), Patriots DEF $3,600 DK / $4,600 FD (t-3rd in takeaways, first in points per game allowed)

MIA DFS targets: Duke Johnson $5,000 DK / $5,600 FD (NE 26th in YPC allowed, 29th in passing DVOA vs. RB)

NE DFS fades: none

MIA DFS fades: Tagovailoa $5,300 DK / $6,500 FD (NE third in passing DVOA, fourth in passing yards per game allowed, second in YPA allowed), Waddle $6,300 DK / $6,800 FD (NE second in DVOA vs. WR1), Mike Gesicki $5,100 DK / $5,700 FD (NE first in DVOA vs. TE)

Key stat: MIA is t-14th in red-zone conversions at 60.9 percent; NE is second in red-zone defense at 46.7 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 6-5 NE, average score 28-18 NE, average margin of victory 14 points. MIA has won three of the last four meetings

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the high 70s, 11-13 mph wind, 5-10 percent chance of rain

The Scoop Stevenson leads the NE backfield with 70 yards. Jones throws for 260 yards and two scores, finding Bourne and Henry. Johnson puts together 90 combined yards and a TD. Tua throws for 210 yards and a touchdown to Waddle but gets picked off twice. Patriots 20-14

New Orleans at Atlanta (+3.5), o/u 39.5 – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EST

While the Saints don't control their own destiny, they are in decent shape for a wild-card spot. A win here, and a Rams win over the Niners, and New Orleans gets to keep playing. It's taken an absolutely heroic effort by the defense just to get them this far – the Saints have won three of their last four, giving up just under 10 points a game over that stretch while the offense has scored only 15 a game. Taysom Hill remains Sean Payton's preferred option at QB, but it's hard to imagine this team making any kind of postseason run with him at the helm, no matter how well the defense plays. The lack of a downfield passing threat is also costing Alvin Kamara some production, as he's failed to reach 60 scrimmage yards in two of the last three weeks. The Falcons have settled into no man's land in the standings, potentially playing their way out of a top-10 pick in 2022 by going 3-3 in their last six. The team's inconsistency has been the only thing reliable about them this year. None of their seven wins have been by more than one score, and they're won their last six games when scoring at least 20 points as the defense has been able to do just enough to make that production count. On the other hand, their nine losses have been by an average of nearly 19 points, and Atlanta is 1-7 when the offense can't even give them 20; it's like the team just packs it in early when the game flow starts going against them, or maybe it's just that they don't have the talent and roster depth to hang with the better teams in the league.

The Skinny

NO injuries: RB Mark Ingram (questionable, knee), LT Terron Armstead (out, knee), RT Ryan Ramczyk (questionable, knee), DE Marcus Davenport (questionable, ankle)

ATL injuries: WR Calvin Ridley (out, personal), TE Kyle Pitts (questionable, hamstring), LG Jalen Mayfield (questionable, back)

NO DFS targets: Kamara $8,300 DK / $9,000 FD (ATL 30th in rushing DVOA, 26th in rushing yards per game allowed, t-27th in rushing TDs allowed), Deonte Harris $3,200 DK / $5,200 FD (ATL 30th in DVOA vs. WR2)

ATL DFS targets: none

NO DFS fades: none

ATL DFS fades: Cordarrelle Patterson $6,400 DK / $6,200 FD and Mike Davis $5,000 DK / $5,600 FD (NO first in rushing DVOA, first in YPC allowed)

Key stat: NO is 32nd in third-down conversions at 34.3 percent; ATL is 30th in third-down defense at 48.3 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 6-5 NO, average score 26-24 NO, average margin of victory nine points. NO has won the last three meetings at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Weather forecast: dome

The Scoop Kamara pops for 110 combined yards. Hill throws for 220 yards and hits Marquez Callaway for a score. Patterson manages 60 scrimmage yards. Matt Ryan throws for 260 yards and three touchdowns, one each to Russell Gage, Olamide Zaccheaus and Christian Blake. Falcons 21-16

N.Y. Jets (+16.5) at Buffalo, o/u 40.5 – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EST

With Seattle's first rounder also in their pocket from the Jamal Adams deal, the Jets could wind up with two picks in the top seven in 2022, but they could be shut out of the top three thanks to a win over the Texans in November. That's fine if Zach Wilson winds up being the answer at QB, as that would still allow them to add key pieces around him, but a 56.7 percent completion rate, 8:11 TD:INT and 6.2 YPA through his first 12 NFL starts isn't exactly an auspicious start to his career. Playing spoiler against the Bills would be a great way to wrap up his rookie season, though. A win for Buffalo locks up the AFC East title, but weirdly they're the one team in the mix for a division crown that has no path to the No. 1 seed in the conference. The Bills are on a rampage, winning three straight by a combined score of 93-50, but after two games with Josh Allen's arm leading the way they had to mix things up last week against Atlanta, as two rushing TDs each from Allen and Devin Singletary overcame three INTs. All the pieces are in place for a deep run – multi-faceted offense, and a defense that's shown it can be stifling – but this is, after all, also a team that's lost to the Jags.

The Skinny

NYJ injuries: WR Elijah Moore (doubtful, quadriceps/COVID-19), WR Braxton Berrios (IR, quadriceps)

BUF injuries: WR Emmanuel Sanders (doubtful, knee)

NYJ DFS targets: none

BUF DFS targets: Allen $8,100 DK / $8,800 FD (NYJ 31st in passing DVOA, 32nd in YPA allowed), Singletary $6,000 DK / $6,700 FD (NYJ 29th in rushing yards per game allowed, 32nd in rushing TDs allowed), Gabriel Davis $4,900 DK / $5,200 FD (NYJ 27th in DVOA vs. WR2), Cole Beasley $4,800 DK / $5,500 FD (NYJ 32nd in DVOA vs. WR3), Dawson Knox $5,400 DK / $6,000 FD (NYJ 32nd in DVOA vs. TE), Bills DEF $3,700 DK / $4,500 FD (t-3rd in takeaways, second in points per game allowed, NYJ t-28th in giveaways)

NYJ DFS fades: Wilson $5,200 DK / $6,500 FD (BUF second in passing DVOA, first in passing yards per game allowed, first in YPA allowed, first in TD% allowed), Keelan Cole $3,400 DK / $5,100 FD (BUF first in DVOA vs. WR2), Jeff Smith $3,100 DK / $4,700 FD (BUF third in DVOA vs. WR3)

BUF DFS fades: none

Key stat: BUF is fourth in third-down conversions at 46.6 percent; NYJ are 29th in third-down defense at 44.4 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 6-5 BUF, average score 24-20 BUF, average margin of victory 12 points. BUF has won three straight meetings by an average score of 30-15

Weather forecast: overcast, temperature in the low 30s, 17-19 mph wind, 10-45 percent chance of snow

The Scoop Michael Carter gains 70 scrimmage yards and a TD. Wilson throws for under 200 yards and gets picked off twice. Singletary bangs out 120 yards and a score. Allen throws for 240 yards and touchdowns to Stefon Diggs and Knox while running in a score of his own. Bills 31-7

L.A. Chargers at Las Vegas (+3), o/u 50.0 – Sunday, 8:20 p.m. EST

The weekend's standalone game could be a chaos vortex if everything falls the right way beforehand, and both teams can get wild-card spots with a tie. Brandon Staley and Rich Bisaccia have both said they won't play for a tie, but that's an easy thing to say before the game. If the scenario comes to pass (it involves a Jacksonville win, so don't get your hopes up) and this game is, say, 24-24 in the fourth quarter, is either coach really going to take any risks? The Chargers shouldn't even be in this situation, really, but a loss to Houston a couple weeks ago has their playoff berth hanging by a thread. Justin Herbert is capable of lighting up any defense, and the Bolts did beat Vegas pretty handily in Week 4, but that was a long time and a couple scandals ago for the Raiders. This team also shouldn't be in this position, because they were supposed to collapse weeks ago under the weight of their off-field troubles, but instead they've won three straight and just refuse to go away. None of the victories have been pretty – the combined score in all three is just 56-47 – but grit and resilience have been what's defined this Raiders squad, so just getting the job done has been enough. It would be nice if Derek Carr woke up, though. He hasn't thrown multiple TDs in any of the last seven games, producing only a 6:6 TD:INT over that stretch despite a 71.2 percent completion rate and 7.4 YPA, and the team might need him to be more than a game manager to pull this one out, much less make any noise in the postseason.

The Skinny

LAC injuries: RT Bryan Bulaga (IR, back), LB Drue Tranquill (questionable, ankle)

LV injuries: RB Josh Jacobs (questionable, ribs), TE Darren Waller (questionable, knee), LG Richie Incognito (IR, calf), CB Casey Hayward (questionable, ankle)

LAC DFS targets: Mike Williams $6,100 DK / $6,700 FD (LV 26th in DVOA vs. WR2)

LV DFS targets: Jacobs $6,500 DK / $6,900 FD (LAC 32nd in rushing DVOA, 30th in rushing yards per game allowed, 29th in rushing TDs allowed), Zay Jones $4,500 DK / $5,400 FD (LAC 31st in DVOA vs. WR1)

LAC DFS fades: none

LV DFS fades: Hunter Renfrow $6,600 DK / $7,000 FD (LAC third in DVOA vs. WR2)

Key stat: LAC are eighth in red-zone conversions at 62.0 percent; LV is 32nd in red-zone defense at 79.5 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 6-5 LAC, average score 24-20 LAC, average margin of victory eight points. Four of the last five meetings have been decided by a single score

Weather forecast: dome

The Scoop Austin Ekeler racks up 90 combined yards and a TD. Herbert throws for 320 yards and two scores, hitting Williams and Stephen Anderson. Jacobs responds with 110 yards and two touchdowns. Carr throws for 290 yards and TDs to Jones and a returning Waller, but he comes up short trying to lead a late comeback. Chargers 30-28

Kansas City at Denver (+10.5), o/u 45.0 – Saturday, 4:30 p.m. EST

The last week of the season is always a crap shoot in terms of which teams will play their starters, and for how long, but at least in this one we can be pretty sure Kansas City will go all out. A win here, and a Titans loss to the Texans on Sunday, puts them back in the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Andy Reid's crew is only in this position because of its inability to put away other strong contenders, though. Kansas City has lost three of its last 12 games, but those losses have come against Buffalo, Tennessee and last week against Cincinnati — the other three division leaders in the AFC. The K.C. defense has also been gashed a bit lately by high-octane offenses led by young stud QBs, but it's still held four of its last six opponents to 10 points or less – including the Broncos in their first meeting, and Drew Lock is no one's idea of a young stud. Denver's staring at a sub-.500 record for the fifth consecutive season despite a strong effort from the defense, as the offense hasn't gotten much done regardless of who's been under center. The Broncos have scored 13 points or less in four of their last five, with the lone exception coming against the lowly Lions. Javonte Williams looks like a keeper, and there's been significant investment in the receiving corps, but without a better quarterback to call the shots it's hard to see this roster getting over the hump.

The Skinny

KC injuries: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (out, shoulder), RT Lucas Niang (IR, knee)

DEN injuries: QB Teddy Bridgewater (IR, concussion), LG Dalton Risner (IR, elbow), K Brandon McManus (questionable, COVID-19), CB Ronald Darby (IR, shoulder), CB Patrick Surtain (IR, calf), S Kareem Jackson (IR, back)

KC DFS targets: Tyreek Hill $8,000 DK / $8,200 FD (DEN 20th in DVOA vs. WR1, 22nd in DVOA vs. deep throws)

DEN DFS targets: Lock $5,300 DK / $6,500 FD (KC 31st in passing yards per game allowed, t-26th in passing TDs allowed)

KC DFS fades: none

DEN DFS fades: Tim Patrick $4,500 DK / $5,500 FD (KC first in DVOA vs. WR3)

Key stat: KC is first in third-down conversions at 51.8 percent; DEN is 27th in third-down defense at 44.1 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 11-0 KC, average score 29-16 KC, average margin of victory 13 points. KC has won 12 straight meetings, including six straight games in Denver

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the low 40s, less than 10 mph wind, 5-15 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Darrel Williams piles up 90 scrimmage yards and a touchdown, while Derrick Gore adds 50 yards. Patrick Mahomes throws for 240 yards and TDs to Hill and Mecole Hardman. Javonte leads the DEN backfield with 80 yards and a score, while Melvin Gordon gains 50 yards. Lock throws for 250 yards and a TD to Jerry Jeudy. Kansas City 21-20

Dallas at Philadelphia (+4), o/u 43.0 – Saturday, 8:15 p.m. EST

Both these teams have a slight chance of moving up from their current playoff spots if the dominoes fall the right way Sunday, but in all likelihood these are the No. 4 and No. 7 seeds in the NFC. As a result, it's a question how much work the starters will get, though Nick Sirianni seems more open to sitting the likes of Jalen Hurts outright rather than giving his key players a couple series before shutting them down. In a lot of cases, COVID-19 may have taken that decision out of his hands anyway. Mike McCarthy has plenty of incentive to treat this like a preseason game too. Both Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard have been playing hurt (which means we might get a Corey Clement revenge game) and could use the extra rest, while the loss of Michael Gallup last week makes protecting Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb seem like a much better idea. For the Cowboys, though, there's that nagging question of momentum. Last week's loss to the Cards continued a pattern of the team coming up small in crucial games, and it might make some sense to let Dak Prescott and company find a bit of a rhythm and score some points before hitting the bench.

The Skinny

DAL injuries: RB Pollard (out, foot), WR Gallup (IR, knee), LT Tyron Smith (doubtful, COVID-19), LB Micah Parsons (out, COVID-19), CB Trevon Diggs (out, COVID-19), CB Anthony Brown (doubtful, COVID-19), S Jayron Kearse (out, hamstring)

PHI injuries: RB Miles Sanders (out, hand), RB Boston Scott (questionable, COVID-19), RB Jordan Howard (questionable, COVID-19), TE Dallas Goedert (questionable, COVID-19), LG Landon Dickerson (questionable, thumb), RG Brandon Brooks (IR, pectoral), RG Nate Herbig (questionable, COVID-19), RT Lane Johnson (questionable, knee), DT Fletcher Cox (questionable, COVID-19), LB Alex Singleton (questionable, COVID-19), CB Avonte Maddox (questionable, COVID-19), S Rodney McLeod (questionable, COVID-19)

DAL DFS targets: Elliott $6,700 DK / $7,600 FD and Clement $4,000 DK / $5,000 FD (PHI 32nd in rushing yards per game allowed, 30th in YPC allowed, 32nd in rushing TDs allowed)

PHI DFS targets: none

DAL DFS fades: none

PHI DFS fades: DeVonta Smith $6,100 DK / $6,000 FD (DAL first in DVOA vs. WR1)

Key stat: DAL is 11th in third-down conversions at 42.3 percent; PHI is 23rd in third-down defense at 41.7 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 7-4 DAL, average score 22-20 DAL, average margin of victory 14 points. Four of the last five meetings have been decided by 14 points or more. DAL has won six of the last eight meetings

Weather forecast: clear, temperature in the high 20s, less than 10 mph wind, zero percent chance of snow

The Scoop: Clement leads the DAL backfield with 90 yards and a score. Prescott barely plays, and Cooper Rush throws for 220 yards and two touchdowns to Cedrick Wilson and Jeremy Sprinkle. Kenneth Gainwell picks up 70 yards. Hurts also sits early, and Gardner Minshew throws for 260 yards and two TDs, hitting J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Tyree Jackson. Cowboys 24-17


Last week's record: 13-3, 7-9 ATS, 7-9 o/u
2021 regular-season record: 165-90-1, 135-120-1 ATS, 116-136-4 o/u
2020 regular-season record: 164-91-1, 129-119-8 ATS, 117-133-6 o/u
Lifetime record: 1279-762-7, 994-987-67 ATS, 726-780-30 o/u (o/u not tracked in 2015)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erik Siegrist
Erik Siegrist is an FSWA award-winning columnist who covers all four major North American sports (that means the NHL, not NASCAR) and whose beat extends back to the days when the Nationals were the Expos and the Thunder were the Sonics. He was the inaugural champion of Rotowire's Staff Keeper baseball league. His work has also appeared at Baseball Prospectus.
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