Mitchell Trubisky, CHI (at Jacksonville)
Trubisky might not have a high ceiling this week because the Bears offense is running through David Montgomery behind a revitalized offensive line, but he has a high floor. The Jaguars pass defense is atrocious, giving up multiple passing scores in each of the last eight games and quarterback rushing scores in three of those contests.
Matthew Stafford, DET (vs Tampa Bay) **Saturday**
Stafford isn’t 100%, but he was still very effective against the Titans last week and he’s facing a vulnerable pass defense this week. The Bucs have allowed multiple pass scores in seven of the last eight games, and that includes Derek Carr, Daniel Jones, and Teddy Bridgewater. The Bucs stout run defense should force the Lions to pass a lot, with three of the last four quarterbacks Tampa has faced throwing at least 49 times.
C.J. Beathard, SF (at Arizona) **Saturday**
Beathard will take over the reins again this week as Nick Mullens’ elbow injury will require Tommy John surgery. He had multiple passing scores in three of his five starts in 2018 while Jimmy Garoppolo was sidelined, including a 349 yard passing day with two scores and another on the ground against his Week 16 opponent, Arizona.
Tua Tagovailoa, MIA (at Las Vegas) **Saturday**
Tagovailoa may get back DeVante Parker, Jakeem Grant, and Mike Gesicki this week as the Dolphins fight to make the playoffs. He was still a solid play against Bill Belichick last week, scoring twice on the ground. The rookie faces a Raiders pass defense that has allowed multiple passing scores in each of the last five games and quarterback rushing scores in two of them.
David Johnson, HOU (at Cincinnati)
We haven’t trusted Johnson all year, but with Duke Johnson Jr trending towards not playing again, Deshaun Watson suddenly discovering what a great receiver Johnson is out of the backfield, and the Bengals up this week, we should treat him as PPR RB1. Benny Snell and Myles Gaskin each had over 100 total yards against Cincinnati as lead backs in the last three games and no backfield has had less than 20 carries against them in the last five games.
Leonard Fournette, TB (at Detroit) **Saturday**
Fournette was ahead of LeSean McCoy last week, so we should assume that he’ll be ahead this week. The Lions defense is miserable right now, and most of their coaches are on the covid list (is that a good thing for them?). Opposing backfields have scored multiple times against them in seven of the last nine games, so it’s easy to picture Fournette reproducing his two-score performance from last week.
Cam Akers high ankle sprain opened the door for Henderson to make an impression this week. The first time around against the Seahawks this year, the Rams backfield accounted for three scores, two of which came from Brown, so he’s a consideration. Henderson should lead the backfield in touches - which should put him around 15-20 since the backfield had 26 in the first matchup. Both Rams backs are worth a look as flex plays or emergency RB2s.
Le’Veon Bell, KC (vs Atlanta)
Bell will get the start with Clyde Edwards-Helaire sidelined through the rest of the regular season. The usage last week after the rookie went out suggests that Bell will be the lead back, but Darrel Williams will also mix in. The Falcons have actually been pretty tough on opposing running backs this year, but they allowed their first multi-score game to a back since Week 1 last week, and the Chiefs should be able to control this game.
Giovani Bernard, CIN (vs Houston)
Bernard and the Bengals offense came to life last week against the Steelers just in time for a matchup with the wilting Texans. There’s risk as Bernard was a fantasy nonfactor for a month heading into Week 15, but the Texans have given up a running back score in 13 of 14 games so far this year, and over 100 total yards to opposing backs in every single game this year. Bernard has a high floor as long as he doesn’t get benched for fumbling again.
Jeff Wilson, SF (at Arizona) **Saturday**
Wilson should be the lead back on Saturday with Raheem Mostert on injured reserve. The first time the 49ers faced Arizona, their backs combined for over 200 total yards and two scores and Arizona has allowed six rushing scores to opposing backs in the last five games, so there’s a decent chance Wilson hits paydirt at least once in Week 16.
Emmanuel Sanders, NO (vs Minnesota) **Friday**
Sanders is the only one of the top three Saints wide receivers that will be active for the Christmas day game, and Drew Brees should have the rust knocked off following a rough first half upon his return last week. Sanders will be working against inexperienced corners and he has already had 12-122 game this year in the last game he played with Brees and no Michael Thomas before last week.
Rashard Higgins, CLE (at New York Jets)
Higgins is hot with at least 76 yards in each of the last three games and this week he gets a Jets secondary that has allowed 11 wide receiver scores in the last seven games. The Browns are letting Baker Mayfield throw more and he has been responding with his best football since his rookie year. Expect most passing plays called against the Jets to work this week, with Higgins on the other end of enough to make him a solid WR3/Flex.
Keke Coutee, HOU (at Cincinnati)
Coutee has scored in each of the last two games, and he was a couple of yards from a second score late last week before Darius Leonard made a great play to separate him from the ball. The game before that, he went for 8-141. No Texans player has more targets than Coutee in the last three games.
Tee Higgins, CIN (vs Houston)
Higgins hasn’t done much since Joe Burrow went down, but he should be a target hog against a vulnerable Texans secondary this week. Tyler Boyd will almost certainly be out with a concussion and Higgins got six of the 13 targets last week against the Steelers. Houston has allowed seven touchdowns to opposing receivers in the last five games, and two in each of the last two games.
Darnell Mooney, CHI (at Jacksonville)
Mooney has established himself as the clear #2 receiver just in time for a matchup with the woeful Jaguars pass defense. Jacksonville has allowed wide receiver scores in each of the last seven games and multiple wide receiver scores in four of those games, and a 100-yard receiver game in seven of the last eight contests. Mooney has the speed to make your week on one play if Mitchell Trubisky can throw an accurate deep ball.
Mecole Hardman, KC (vs Atlanta)
Hardman just missed on a deep ball last week, but still scored against the Saints and this week he’ll face a Falcons pass defense that has been very generous to opponents. The last two weeks both of their opponents have had multiple wide receivers score. Hardman is coming along, tying his season high in targets last week, and there’s always a chance that Tyreek Hill’s hamstring issues end up limiting him at some point in this game, opening the door for Hardman to get more deep shots.
Dawson Knox, BUF (vs New England)
Knox has scored in two of the last three weeks and he has at least four targets in each of those games. Bill Belichick will likely try to take away Stefon Diggs and force Josh Allen to look elsewhere. Knox missed the first matchup with New England this year, but he was able to get free downfield a few times last year against the Patriots as a rookie, with a combined line of 4-91 in the two matchups. He could be an X factor for the Bills and fantasy teams this week.
Tyler Higbee, LAR (at Seattle)
Higbee had 3-60 in the first matchup with the Seahawks to show his meddle, and he has scored in two of the last three weeks. The Rams should opt for more two tight end sets to fuel the running game and protect Jared Goff, which might translate to more opportunity for Higbee, who has three of his four games with at least five targets over the last six games.
Jordan Akins, HOU (vs Cincinnati)
Akins has been a boom/bust rollercoaster ride who has let us down when we’ve highlighted him here, but we have to mention him again as he caught five of his six targets last week and he’s facing a Bengals defense that allowed huge games to Mike Gesicki, Evan Engram, Trey Burton, Zach Ertz and Harrison Bryant this year.
Austin Hooper, CLE (at New York Jets)
Hooper had his best fantasy game of the year last week to induce back in for a terrific matchup against the Jets this week. Baker Mayfield has had three games in a row with at least 30 pass attempts for the first time this year to help Hooper’s floor, and his ceiling is enhanced by a Jets defense that has surrendered 13 scores to opposing tight ends and at least one tight end score in each of the last five games.
Donald Parham Jr, LAC (vs Denver)
Hunter Henry has been placed on the covid list and could miss Week 16. If he's out, the massive Parham will start and could have a big game if he gets enough targets. He has two scores and has averaged 15 yards a catch in very limited action this year. Parham's role in the passing game could grow if Keenan Allen is a no go this week - right now he's a game time decision.