We have a loaded Primetime slate this week The Steelers will take on a Chargers team coming off of a thrashing of the Cardinals. With that said, the Chargers will be without Melvin Gordon come Sunday night which will pave the way for more offensive involvement for Austin Ekeler. On Monday night, we have a divisional matchup in the not-so-great NFC East. Both the Redskins and Eagles trail the Cowboys for first place in the division, and the window for both teams to make a move into the playoffs is quickly closing. This slate should be action packed with some heavy scoring so let’s go ahead and break it down.
SUNDAY NIGHT: CHARGERS @ STEELERS (-3.5)
As it stands now the Chargers are 3.5 point road underdogs to the Pittsburgh Steelers. It will be interesting to see how much damage this Chargers offense can do with them having to travel to the east coast, and being without one of their best offensive weapons in Melvin Gordon. Austin Ekeler ($6,000) will look to take on a bigger piece of the offensive pie. Ekeler is coming off of a fantastic performance last week in Arizona where he totaled 35 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Ekeler did the majority of his damage in the passing game though, as he turned his 11 targets into 10 catches for 68 yards. You can’t ignore Ekeler’s workload here even though Justin Jackson (3,600) will probably be mixed in as well. Expect Ekeler to be one of the most popular players on the slate and for good reason.
In the passing game, Philip Rivers ($5,700) has been having himself an awesome season. He is averaging 21.6 DK points per game and is coming off of a three-touchdown performance in Arizona. His matchup this week will pose a much tougher challenge. Although it is a small sample I think it is still worth noting that Rivers has fared much better at home than on the road this season. In 2018, Rivers is averaging 7.3 more DK points at home than on the road. Add in the fact that this game is on the east coast, and River’s could be in for a not-so-Rivers-like night.
After what was a slow start to the season, Keenan Allen ($7,400) has come on strong in the second half of the season. Allen has three games of 20+ DK points over his last four contests. I would expect him to see his usual share of targets this Sunday night with room for a couple more with Gordon being out. It is also worth noting that the Steelers were lit up by Emmanuel Sanders last week, who runs the majority of his routes out of the slot, just as Allen does.
Make sure to monitor Tyrell Williams ($4,400) status heading into Sunday night as he is currently questionable for this contest. If he were to miss this would be a sure boost to his teammates Mike Williams ($3,800) and cheap speedster Travis Benjamin ($3,000).
On the home team’s side of things, Ben Roethlisberger ($6,200) is a nice option at quarterback. Roethlisberger has been crushing of late averaging close to 30 DK points per game (28.99) over his last four contests. He and the Steelers will look to bounce back at home this week after suffering a tough loss on the west coast to the Denver Broncos. The matchup on paper isn’t the best, but Big Ben’s combination of weapons should be enough to overcome it.
As for James Conner ($7,200), his outlook is just fine for this game. The Chargers have been a bit weaker on the ground which is good news for both Conner and the sturdy offensive line of the Steelers. He has been quiet lately partly due to the fact that the schedule hasn’t been too kind to him. Maybe people will be questioning his talent when looking at his game log, but that is no reason to question his role in this Steelers offense. Conner is still very much involved and has simply run into some poor game scripts the past couple of weeks. Sunday night should be a different story.
The Steelers have two awesome weapons in the passing game now with the outbreak of JuJu Smith-Schuster ($7,900). He is coming off of an unbelievable 40.9 point performance last Sunday in Denver and will look to stay hot against this week against the Chargers. The matchup isn’t ideal as it looks like he will go toe to toe with Desmond King who is ranked as PFF’s #4 cornerback. With that said, Schuster does have the capability to run outside just like he did last week to avoid the coverage of Chris Harris Jr. It will be interesting to see whether people go for Schuster or opt for the higher priced Antonio Brown ($8,300). Brown seems to be having a quiet season by his standards, but that hasn’t stopped him from already eclipsing double-digit touchdowns on the year. This week he will see coverage from Casey Hayward who is another talented Chargers cornerback. I don’t see this as any reason to shy away from Brown though given his superb talent and the fact that it is a short slate.
MONDAY NIGHT: REDSKINS @ EAGLES (-6.5)
This divisional matchup will feature two teams trying to pry away the top spot in the NFC East from the Cowboys. The Redskins weren’t able to overcome the Cowboys on Thanksgiving but will see an easier matchup this Monday night against this weakened Eagles defense. Colt McCoy ($4,800) wasn’t terrible in his debut as the starter on Thanksgiving. The Redskins were behind for the majority of the game which helped to get McCoy to 18+ DK points. I kind of like McCoy on this slate as the lowest priced quarterback as he should be playing from behind and also has a pretty soft matchup.
The Washington running game will be getting a little bit of a boost on Monday with the return of Chris Thompson ($4,500). Thompson is one of the best pass-catching running backs in the league and when healthy he has been a big play force for the Redskins. I love him in this game here as the Eagles have been susceptible to RBs in the passing game. I will probably be avoiding Adrian Peterson ($4,700) strictly based on the matchup. He also doesn’t provide the reception floor that Thompson does. Peterson is currently questionable for Monday night and if he were to miss Thompson could be set up for a huge game.
The Redskins really don’t bring anything exciting to the table with their receiving corps. Having said that, someone needs to catch the passes and with a soft matchup against this Eagles secondary, there could be some nice value opportunities. In McCoy’s first start he looked Josh Doctson’s ($4,500) way 10 total times. McCoy also seems to be keying in on his tight ends a bit more. On Thanksgiving, the combination of Jordan Reed ($5,100) and Vernon Davis ($2,900) totaled 12 targets. They racked up eight catches for 143 yards and a touchdown. Reed is a solid option if you don’t feel like paying all the way up for Zach Ertz.
On the Eagles side, the defending Super Bowl champs have not looked near the same team they were last year. If you needed any further evidence just look at last week’s game against the Giants where they had to scrape and claw for a win. They really need to play well down the stretch and encounter a little bit of luck if they want to try and sneak into the playoffs. Carson Wentz ($5,500) is probably my preferred option at quarterback on this slate. His price is really soft and hopefully, some people are scared off by back to back lackluster performances. I would expect a nice bounce back here from Wentz given the matchup and the absolute need for the Eagles to win this game. Anybody remember how Wentz ripped apart the Washington defense on a Monday night just a year ago?
On the ground, Josh Adams ($5,200) has taken over the number one running back job for the Eagles. He has produced solidly, but his fantasy output has been anchored a bit by touchdowns. His is also not heavily involved in the receiving game out of the backfield which limits his upside. It is also worth mentioning that Darren Sproles ($3,400) is expected to be active for the first time since week one. I am assuming he will be involved in his usual passing down role.
It is always a bit of a guessing game when it comes to picking who will do well in the passing game for the Eagles. For some reason, I feel like this could be the game the Eagles have been waiting for from Golden Tate ($4,600). It is safe to say the Tate trade has been a bit of a disaster for the Eagles. Having said that, he is still getting a heavy dose of targets from Carson Wentz. His matchup against Fabian Moreau should also bode well for his fantasy outlook on Monday night.
No Eagles write up is done without mentioning their all-star tight end Zach Ertz ($6,700). Ertz is having an incredible year thus far and will look to continue that Monday night against the Redskins. He is practically the Eagles WR1 but his price doesn’t necessarily reflect that. I expect Ertz to contend for the highest owned player on the slate so there could be some merit in fading him if you think he has a down game.
Well, that’s going to do it for this week’s edition of the Primetime Playsheet! Hopefully, you end week 13 with some green screens.