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NOTE: This column is a living document and will be updated throughout the morning. Major changes to the content will be in red. Check back often for additions as gameday inactives are announced and lineup / depth chart changes are reported. I'll also be retweeting those reports with quick bits of analysis, so make sure you're following @JeneBramel and checking my timeline on Twitter.
Atlanta at Green Bay
The Falcons are healthy. Paul Worrilow and Sean Weatherspoon continue to see all the subpackage snaps. The Packers aren't the elite matchup they would be with Aaron Rodgers under center, but both have strong upside today. Without Rodgers, it's hard to chase points at cornerback, but slot corner Robert McClain is a reasonable option today.
Brad Jones continues to produce well despite missing some snaps in dime packages. Nick Perry is finally back seeing meaningful snaps, but Clay Matthews is the only Green Bay option for those in big play leagues.
Buffalo at Tampa Bay
The bye week seems to have refreshed Mario Williams, who was fighting through multiple nagging injuries. The Bucs have been protecting Mike Glennon well with both scheme and strong offensive line play. That makes Williams a boom-bust play, but his upside gives him a spot in all lineups. The rotation around Kiko Alonso, Aaron Williams and Jairus Bryd is unchanged.
Da'Quan Bowers was added to the injury report with a knee issue and is questionable today. He has seen minimal snaps recently, so the rotation is unlikely to be affected if he's out. Mark Barron has been on a roll lately and that should continue against the Bills. The Bucs haven't used as much dime lately, making Mason Foster a trustworthy LB3.
Cleveland at New England
Tank Carder and Craig Robertson were both limited in practice all week and listed questionable. Darius Eubanks started last week. There's been no official comment from the Cleveland staff on who will play. I'll update when the inactives are released this morning. It's a value position for those in deeper leagues. T.J. Ward should also do well in this matchup.
Both Robertson and Carder are active. Robertson is the likely starter. There's some risk of a rotation, but Robertson is a boom-bust LB3/LB4 today.
The Patriots personnel is dependent on game plan. There's not much upside in this matchup, so it's probably best to avoid the back seven here. If you're desperate, Brandon Spikes is your best option in tackle-heavy leagues, You might consider fishing for Devin McCourty is deeper balanced leagues. Chandler Jones has a tough matchup across from Joe Thomas, but he's tough to bench. Keep him in your lineup unless you're in a sack-heavy league and have multiple strong options.
Detroit at Philadelphia
Darius Slay is out today. Chris Houston should be back for Detroit, however, and is a nice fantasy bet in corner-required leagues. Ezekiel Ansah has been on a roll, but gets Jason Peters today. Look for another option if you have one. Should Ansah break through with consistent pressure today, he may move into the matchup-independent DL1 tier.
Mychal Kendricks was healthy enough to play every down last week and isn't on the injury report this week. Earl Wolff is out again, but Patrick Chung has done little. The Lions have protected Matt Stafford well, but Trent Cole is playing very well and the pass rush rotation has been effective. Cole is the only player I'd consider in sack-heavy leagues, but another good game from Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham would go a long way toward making Cole an every-week starter again.
Indianapolis at Cincinnati
The rotation between Pat Angerer and Kelvin Sheppard continued last week. The stat crew in Cincinnati has leaned more favorable recently, but it's not enough to fully trust Angerer in a must win playoff matchup. Robert Mathis has a better than expected matchup with the Bengals deciding to move Andrew Whitworth to guard to cover for injuries.
The Bengals officially clarified their linebacker rotation last week. As expected , it wasn't good for Vincent Rey, who played only in subpackages. The Maualuga - Rey rotation should be the same today. The Colts have been a strong pass rush matchup, giving both Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap good upside. They're inconsistent, but a good matchup at home is the best case scenario for both.
Kansas City at Washington
Washington has been a strong matchup this year, especially in their home stadium. Derrick Johnson is a high upside play, with Eric Berry a reasonable gamble. Frank Zombo will again replace Justin Houston. Tamba Hali was held in check last week, but that had as much or more to do with the Denver matchup as the loss of Houston. Hali is a good risk-reward play in sack-heavy leagues today.
Reed Doughty, Brandon Meriweather, London Fletcher and DeAngelo Hall are all dinged, but expected to play. All of them are decent plays today. There's no concern with Fletcher, especially with a favorable home stat crew.
Miami at Pittsburgh
This is a big week for Cameron Wake. If he's not able to break through in this matchup, he'll be very hard to trust against New England next week. The pressures are there for Wake, but he's not finishing in the pocket. That's a strength for Roethlisberger. I'd use Wake today, but his leash is short
LaMarr Woodley is back this week, but that's not likely to affect the snaps or value of Jason Worilds, who has been playing well lately. The Dolphins are a favorable matchup for pass rushers. Worilds is a high upside play today in sack-heavy scoring leagues. Brett Keisel is out again with plantar fasciitis.
Minnesota at Baltimore
Audie Cole has won the starting middle linebacker job. Erin Henderson will move to weak side linebacker. I expect that Cole will stick in the subpackages. His coverage has been a pleasant surprise thus far. Jamarca Sanford is questionable with an ankle injury, but fully practiced on Friday. Andrew Sendejo has been the better fantasy option at safety, however, and should be again today.
The Ravens will likely be without Elvis Dumervil today, who's doubtful with an ankle injury. That could mean a few more snaps for Courtney Upshaw, but there's no upside there. The home stat crew in Baltimore has been favorable, adding to an already strong matchup for Daryl Smith and James Ihedigbo.
Oakland at New York Jets
The Jets are healthy but don't have a consistent fantasy play. Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, David Harris and Demario Davis are all consideratons, but none have enough upside to trust. The Oakland offensive tackles have been good enough that Wilkerson looks like a boom-bust play today.
New York Giants at San Diego
Jason Pierre-Paul remains out for New York. It's going to be 2014 before he holds meaningful value again, assuming he can regain strength in his shoulder. Corey Webster is also out. That puts Terrell Thomas and Antrel Rolle in their usual higher upside roles. Jon Beason had a huge game last week but don't overreact and play him over a solid, established option today. Justin Tuck's matchup isn't as favorable as it could have been had King Dunlap missed today's game, but he's still a solid DL2.
The Chargers activated Melvin Ingram III this week. He'll play, but only sparingly in subpackages. Big play owners should have their eyes on his snaps, though, in case he shows enough to hold value in Week 16 against Oakland. Ingram's presence probably won't cause enough of a ripple effect to send Reggie Walker back into a rotational role at inside linebacker. Donald Butler remains a strong play.
Seattle at San Francisco
Byron Maxwell started for Brandon Browner last week. Jeremy Lane was in the slot. Maxwell didn't run up as many tackles as you might expect from a player opposite Richard Sherman, but the Saints aren't deep at wide receiver. That could change for Maxwell today. Bobby Wagner and Kam Chancellor and K.J. Wright get a good matchup today. The stat crew situation is a huge change from last week. Seattle's home crew doles out assists in bunches and depresses solo tackle counts. San Francisco's crew gives out very few assists but is generally more favorable for fantasy production.
The Niners are healthy and the Seahawks should be a strong matchup. Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman are both high upside plays. Aldon Smith may have a tough task getting to Russell Wilson, but belongs in all big play lineups.
St. Louis at Arizona
If Robert Quinn meets his upside expectation today, he'll single handedly win a few playoff matchups. The only limitation will be if one of his three strong linemates beat him to the pocket. Chris Long is a perfect high upside gamble for those who feel they are a big playoff underdog. T.J. McDonald played every down despite a shin injury last week and is entrenched as the starter at free safety.
Tennessee at Denver
Zach Brown is an extremely tough call today. Last week, he played every down and looked good. That may have been due to Michael Griffin's suspension, though George Wilson wasn't stealing many snaps in recent weeks. If the Titans feel Wilson is a better player in coverage on Julius Thomas and/or want the flexibility of Akeem Ayers in zone and pass rush, Brown won't play many snaps against Denver. But if Brown is an every-down player today, he has LB1 upside. In the end, I think there's too much risk unless you are an extreme underdog.
Wes Woodyard didn't play in some subpackages last week as the game wore on. There's no indication of an injury, so there's a increased risk with him today. Bump him down a tier in your thought process.
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Carolina at New Orleans
Charles Johnson will play today. Whether the full Friday practice means he's fully healthy or not remains to be seen. The Saints were once a very tough pass rushing matchup, but have been trending the other way recently. I'd lean toward sitting Johnson (may not be 100%, could rotate more often, Brees can be a tough get) but I think Greg Hardy is a reasonable risk in sack-heavy scoring leagues.
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Dallas at Chicago
Sean Lee is back this week. He fully practiced all week and says he's healthy. He should be in your lineup. That puts Bruce Carter and Ernie Sims back in a battle for snaps. Both are probably best avoided this week.
Lance Briggs remains out and may not be ready next week either. Major Wright will be back this week. With Shea McClellin back healthy last week and Jay Ratliff and Stephen Paea active, Corey Wootton still played lots of snaps at defensive tackle. The healthy rotation is helping Julius Peppers. Peppers has taken advantage of a month of good matchups (underperforming only against a stronger than expected Detroit line). The Dallas matchup will be his toughest matchup down the stretch. Peppers is hard to bench right now, but temper expectations on Monday night.
Best of luck in your fantasy games this weekend. Reading the Defense returns on Tuesday. Follow me on Twitter @JeneBramel for breaking news and analysis during the games today.