Jesse James will start at tight end for the Steelers today. We're projecting his ownership at 20% on FanDuel and 22% on DraftKings, both figures are less than Martellus Bennett's. James picked up a career-high 83 yards against the Chiefs on six targets, the most he's received since Week 5. Considering Bennett's health and the number of alternate options Tom Brady has at his disposal, a swap to James may make sense. While Bennett picks up more scoring work, James could be involved more frequently in other parts of the field as Roethlisberger doesn't have many reliable weapons outside of Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell.As reported by Dale Lolley
The Patriots have Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, and Danny Amendola active, which left Floyd as the odd man out today. Tight end Martellus Bennett, currently battling a knee injury in addition to a cracked bone in his ankle, is active as well. Edelman is the safest of the bunch, he's been an absolute target monster as of late. Hogan was Brady's primary deep target last week prior to injuring his thigh, he had four catches for 95 yards before exiting. Both he and Mitchell are interesting low-owned tournament targets today. Mitchell displayed his upside during a four-week stretch earlier this season when he had at least four catches and 40 yards in each game and added four total scores. Bennett is in the mix at tight end as the only other viable option remaining is Jesse James but given his health, he'll likely be touchdown dependent. He scored three times in the final four games of the regular season but hasn't been too involved otherwise.As reported by Mike Reiss Other tagged players: Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Martellus Bennett, Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan
Jones is dealing with a toe sprain but coach Dan Quinn said he won't have any limitations Sunday against the Packers. While there is the risk of re-aggravation, barring any setbacks of that nature, he should be out there for the vast majority of the offensive snaps today. He has a great matchup with Ladarius Gunter, who struggled to contain Dez Bryant last week. Bryant received eight targets in Gunter's coverage and he caught six of them for 85 yards a pair of touchdowns. Julio will certainly look to emulate his success, and fortunately, his physical style of play should work in his favor. Despite being on the field for just 58% of the snaps against the Seahawks, Jones managed to catch six passes for 67 yards and a score. He only has a 17% share of Atlanta's receiving scores this season, but he has become more involved in the red zone lately, which is an encouraging sign. He'll still have to compete with all of the other playmakers on the team, though. That's part of the reason Antonio Brown has the edge in our model as the WR1 this week. Brown has accounted for 40% of the Steeler's touchdown catches.As reported by ESPN
Michael was added to the injury report yesterday. He isn't expected to be too much of a factor today as he seems to have slipped behind Aaron Ripkowski in the depth chart. Michael only played four offensive snaps last weekend and didn't earn a touch. Ty Montgomery should get the bulk of the backfield work against Atlanta's 25th-ranked defensive line. He earned three red zone touches agaisnt the Cowboys, two of them going for touchdowns. Both of his scores were at the goal line, which is a sign that Green Bay will stick with him over the bigger Ripkowski when they're near the end zone.As reported by Green Bay Packers
Rollins passed the final stage of the concussion protocol and he'll play the Falcons today. It's a slight downgrade to Taylor Gabriel's outlook as Rollins will reclaim his starting spot from Damarious Randall. With Ladarius Gunter expected to follow Julio Jones, Gabriel will see Rollins a lot today. He's not a shutdown corner by any means, he earned a 69.5 PFF grade prior to his injury. Gabriel is a good bet for five or six targets, his usual range, and has the ability to break off long touchdowns. He's a very interesting tournament option Sunday.As reported by Green Bay Packers
It's been well reported that this trio would not be playing if they had a regular season game this afternoon, but they're in the NFC Championship. Nelson will sport a Kevlar vest to protect his fractured ribs, Adams will play through a high ankle sprain - like he did for most of last year - and Allison is going to suit up despite missing practice with a hamstring issue this week. Of the three, Nelson is the riskiest followed by Adams. It's possible Jordy doesn't get his normal usage due to his injury, but he had to get cleared for contact to suit up and he said he wouldn't play if he wasn't able to go full speed. Still, it's hard to imagine he won't be limited in some capacity. Adams relies on his quick release off the line of scrimmage, which may be affected by a high ankle sprain he suffered a week ago. Earlier this week, Allison said he didn't practice for precautionary reasons, so he's probably the closest to full stength. Nelson and Adams are certainly in play for tournaments while Allison's appeal takes a downgrade with the others active. To compensate for the risk, both players will come with depressed ownership amid the injury concerns, which could be useful on the two-game slate. Randall Cobb and Jared Cook remain the safest options among the Green Bay pass catchers. Ty Montgomery may now lose some of his passing volume, but he's still in a solid spot. Atlanta's defensive line ranks 25th in adjusted line yards per carry and they're one of the worst defenses in football when it comes to defending running backs in the passing game. Aaron Rodgers is going to be in better shape with all of his weapons available, even if they're playing at less than 100%. He's our QB1 today.As reported by Green Bay Packers Other tagged players: Randall Cobb, Geronimo Allison, Davante Adams, Jared Cook, Aaron Rodgers, Ty Montgomery
Bennett is playing with a cracked bone in his ankle, according to Ian Rapoport. He also hurt his knee last week against the Houston Texans. Clearly, Bennett won't be playing at 100%. There are few other options at tight end today and as a result, his ownership is projected to be 28% on FanDuel and 32% on DraftKings. He might not be worth the risk, though. New England has a fully healthy arsenal of receivers and Dion Lewis picked up seven targets last week - there may not be enough to go around for Bennett, especially in his condition. Hobbled up over the past four games, he's averaged 2.0 receptions and 22.75 yards. His usage as a scorer could potentially save his fantasy day as he scored three touchdowns during the final four games of the regular season. Both Jared Cook and Jesse James have a good chance of out-targeting Bennett this afternoon under the circumstances, he'll be pretty touchdown dependent.As reported by Ian Rapoport
No surprise here as Green is still healing from a concussion. His absence will provide Jesse James another start. Due to the dearth of options at tight end this weekend, James projects as our TE3 and he's squarely in play. However, we're not projecting a large gap between his ownership levels and that of the clear top option, Jared Cook, meaning there is a limited advantage to be gained from a game theory perspective by rostering the lesser tight end. On FanDuel their prices are only a $1,000 apart, so it's not going to free up too much extra salary, but on DraftKings their prices are $2,400 apart, which makes a big difference given the tight pricing on DK this weekend. James set a career-high in Kansas City with 83 yards. His six targets were the most he's received since Week 5 when he posted a 6/43/1 line. If Malcolm Butler can successfully shut down Antonio Brown and Logan Ryan handles Eli Rogers, both plausible situations to an extent, James could pick up more targets than normal. New England has done well defending the position this year, they were in the top 8 in fantasy points allowed per game to tight ends. James certainly won't have the floor or ceiling of Jared Cook but he's worth a look in tournaments. It's probably better to use him at DraftKings over FanDuel given the pricing at the position.As reported by Ian Rapoport Other tagged players: Jesse James
Mitchell didn't play last week but he's all set for New England's showdown with the Steelers today. He showed his upside during a four-week stretch this season when he had at least four receptions and 40 yards in each game and scored four times. He definitely has talent and Brady trusts him. He's firmly in play as a tournament option today, especially considering we're projecting his ownership at 7% or less on DraftKings and FanDuel. It also helps that the receiver opposite him, Chris Hogan, is a little banged up with a thigh issue. Even so, Hogan is also a nice contrarian GPP option today. He was on his way to a big game against the Houston Texans before getting injured in the third quarter, he had caught all four targets for 95 yards at that point. Brady was relying on him as his primary vertical threat. With Mitchell back on the field for three-wide sets, Hogan could certainly lose some of those deep targets. Although they could each eat into each other's volume, they both have big play ability and given their low ownership projections, they're worth a look in tournament lineups.As reported by Adam Schefter Other tagged players: Chris Hogan
All three were questionable but this is a little unexpected, particularly in Nelson's case. It's been well reported that this trio would not be playing if they had a regular season game this afternoon, but they're in the NFC Championship. Nelson will sport a Kevlar vest to protect his fractured ribs, Adams will play through a high ankle sprain - like he did for most of last year - and Allison is going to suit up despite missing practice with a hamstring issue this week. Of the three, Nelson is the riskiest followed by Adams. It's possible Jordy doesn't get his normal usage due to his injury, but he had to get cleared for contact to suit up and he said he wouldn't play if he wasn't able to go full speed. Adams relies on his quick release off the line of scrimmage, which may be affected by a high ankle sprain he suffered a week ago. Earlier this week, Allison said he didn't practice for precautionary reasons, so he may actually be near 100%. Nelson and Adams are certainly in play for tournaments while Allison's appeal takes a downgrade with the others active. To compensate for the risk, both players will come with depressed ownership amid the injury concerns, which could be useful on the two-game slate. Randall Cobb and Jared Cook remain the safest options among the Green Bay pass catchers. Ty Montgomery may now lose some of his passing volume, but he's still in a solid spot. Atlanta's defensive line ranks 25th in adjusted line yards per carry and they're one of the worst defenses in football when it comes to defending running backs in the passing game. Aaron Rodgers is going to be in better shape with all of his weapons available, even if they're playing at less than 100%. He's our QB1 today.As reported by ESPN Other tagged players: Davante Adams, Geronimo Allison, Randall Cobb, Ty Montgomery, Jared Cook, Aaron Rodgers
Reliable beat writer Mike Reiss asserted that only four of New England's five receivers will be active tomorrow, but he isn't exactly sure who will be the inactive among the group. Malcolm Mitchell (knee) was the odd one out last weekend against the Houston Texans, although Reiss seems to believe it was because he was not medically cleared. Given the connection he's developed with Tom Brady, if he's healthy he will most likely be the third receiver behind Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan (thigh, questionable). Michael Floyd out-snapped Danny Amendola 44-21 against the Texans but he played poorly and made some costly mistakes, including one that created an interception. He's also new to the team, which could provide an edge to Amendola. Either way, it seems like the Patriots will likely choose between those two tomorrow. It'll be worth following on game-day as a player like Michael Floyd is a potential contrarian GPP flier on a two-game slate that features limited avenues to differentiate lineups. If Mitchell ends up active, he should be the third receiver and will be a solid contrarian play himself with Hogan a bit banged up. New England has the second game tomorrow but we'll hopefully know what the Patriots plan to do with Mitchell, Floyd, and Amendola before lock.As reported by Mike Reiss Other tagged players: Michael Floyd, Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan
The Packers didn't offer any updates on Jordy Nelson (ribs), Davante Adams (ankle), or Geronimo Allison (hamstring) today, but they signed McCaffrey off of their practice squad. This most likely means at least one of them will be out tomorrow. Nelson is the primary candidate to be inactive as Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison are expected to suit up. This is an important story to monitor tomorrow as they'll all be game-day decisions. Randall Cobb remains the safest receiver, he and tight end Jared Cook should see plenty of targets tomorrow with the other three pass catchers banged up. This also opens up some extra receiving volume for running back Ty Montgomery.As reported by ESPN
Michael only played four offensive snaps last week and didn't earn a single touch. He must have gotten hurt in practice to be added this late, but he won't be much of a factor on Sunday if he plays. Green Bay's backfield is firmly Ty Montgomery's, who played 78% of the offensive snaps last week. It seems his true backup is Aaron Ripkowski, who played 31% of the offensive snaps against the Cowboys and picked up four carries for 24 yards in the process. Although Ripkowski had taken some goal line work (and touchdowns) from Montgomery in previous weeks, he didn't have a touch inside the 20-yard line in Dallas. Montgomery had three total touches in the red zone and scored two touchdowns inside the 3-yard line, which is an encouraging sign for his fantasy prospects in Atlanta. TyMont has become increasingly involved in the passing game - he caught six of seven targets for 34 yards against the Cowboys - and Atlanta is very poor at defending receiving running backs. They've allowed the most receptions (6.59), 2nd-most receiving yards (52.76), and 2nd-most receiving touchdowns (0.35) per game to the position. Montgomery is in a great spot, especially for full PPR scoring.As reported by Adam Schefter Other tagged players: Ty Montgomery, Aaron Ripkowski
Considering he ranks 11th (95.4 rating), it may be fair to say that New England's pass defense has hardly been tested. When they were up against a good opponent, which was rare, they struggled. Throughout the season, they faced two quarterbacks with a passer rating in the top 14, both players threw for at least 348 yards and two touchdowns. First, Ryan Tannehill (12th, 93.5) went for 387 yards, two scores, and two picks, although a decent portion of those stats came in garbage time. Later on, Russell Wilson (14th, 92.6) went off for 348 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Some of their other opponents include the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brock Osweiler (twice), and Jared Goff. To be fair, they faced Andy Dalton (15th, 91.8) and he was held in check to a degree. He still completed 68% of his passes for 254 yards, one score, and zero interceptions, though. While the Patriots have held opposing quarterbacks to the 8th-lowest rating and allowed the 8th-fewest passing touchdowns, those stats may be misleading or at least a little skewed based on their schedule. In fact, Football Outsiders ranks New England's schedule as the easiest among all 32 NFL teams this season. That can explain why they rank 23rd in pass DVOA despite allowing the 8th-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks per game.
The question now is whether Ben Roethlisberger can overcome his road jitters, or whatever causes him to perform markedly worse outside of Pittsburgh. Given the way DraftKings has structured their pricing this week, it's a worthy inquiry. He's just $5.8K, which is $1.3K lower than Tom Brady in 3rd place and $2.3K behind the most expensive quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. As a result, he projects as our top points-per-dollar QB on the site (3.31 pts/$ vs. 2.93 pts/$ for both Brady and Rodgers). It's been well noted that he's averaged 1.1 touchdowns per game on the road whereas he throws 3.3 per week at home. He wasn't great last weekend at Arrowhead Stadium, he threw for 224 yards and an interception while failing to find paint despite several trips to the red zone. Kansas City ranked 7th in pass DVOA, though, which played a big role in those results. At the same time, they're 26th in rush DVOA, so Roethlisberger ended up handing the ball off to Le'Veon Bell 30 times. New England is the opposite, they rank 4th in rush DVOA. They held Bell to 81 rushing yards on 3.9 yards per carry earlier this year. Over the course of the season, they repeatedly stuffed runners in the red zone, allowing just six total rushing touchdowns, which is the lowest mark in the league. Even though Bell is an incredible player, Pittsburgh may need to rely on Ben's arm to score this Sunday. Considering Bell picked up 10 receptions the last time these two teams met (with Landry Jones at quarterback) he could be an easy, short target for Roethlisberger to find in space and/or in scoring position. We've seen what Bell can do with room and any yards after catch or touchdowns he scores that way would obviously pad Roethlisberger's stats. Considering New England has allowed the most receptions and the 3rd-most receiving yards per game to the position, this is a nice spot for that connection to thrive. Pittsburgh might choose to get Bell the ball through the air instead of on the ground and Roethlisberger may not need to take big shots down field in order to be productive. Another thing in Ben's favor is that Pittsburgh's top receiver, Antonio Brown, has been successful against New England's best corner, Malcolm Butler, in the past. Across two career meetings, he's caught 14 of 20 targets in his coverage for 193 yards and a touchdown despite having Landry Jones throwing to him in one of those matchups. In this spot, those two could bail out Roethlisberger's fantasy day even if he doesn't perform at his best.
Although it may have been easy to ignore Roethlisberger last week and may be somewhat easy to do on a site like FanDuel this week, where QB pricing is closer together, he's definitely worth a deeper look for tournaments on DraftKings based on his salary. Rostering him may be a little nerve-wracking when considering his erratic road splits, but it's at least a little comforting to know he's facing a pass defense that's been exploited in the rare games they were truly tested.
Rollins is still in the concussion protocol. While he isn't a shutdown corner, his presence would make the secondary better. Plus, he would presumably take over for Damarious Randall and guard Taylor Gabriel on the outside. Burnett would be a tough loss for Green Bay as he's Pro Football Focus' 9th-highest graded safety this season. Matt Ryan has been excellent this season and he's got a fully loaded (and mostly healthy) offense, he'll be in a terrific spot Sunday, especially if Burnett can't suit up. Although Ryan projects as our QB2 behind Aaron Rodgers, we're expecting him to have the highest ownership on both DraftKings (33%) and FanDuel (36%).As reported by Michael Cohen
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