By Stephen Dolan
It was another week of close games and the early games featured a ton of offense. Fantasy production came from every direction including touchdowns from defenses like the Chargers and Eagles while big-time players like Antonio Brown had huge games en route to wins for their teams. We have your sleeper and obvious picks for this week’s slate of games.READ MORE: Poinsettias, Trains Help H.P. Rawlings Conservancy Get 'Back On Track'
Play: Tom Brady (vs. NYG)
Brady is playing at such a high level right now, it is difficult to imagine any defense being able to slow him down, let alone the New York Giants. In Sunday’s 27-10 win over Washington, he completed 26 of his 39 passes for 299 yards, two touchdowns and an interception giving him 22 touchdowns and just two picks on the season. He gets a favorable matchup this week against a Giants pass defense that ranks 31st in the NFL, allowing 314.9 yards per game and that number came down after holding rookie Jameis Winston to 249 yards in Week 9. Play Brady.
Play: Peyton Manning (vs. KC)
After struggling in the first half on Sunday against the Colts, Manning came out like a man on a mission in the second half and rallied the Broncos back into the game before losing on a late Indianapolis field goal. Manning ended the day throwing for 281 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He sits just three yards shy of breaking Brett Favre’s NFL record for career passing yards. Manning will face a Chiefs defense that is allowing 256 passing yards per game and two touchdowns for every one interception on the season.
Other Good Plays: Blake Bortles (vs. BAL) for $7,800, Joe Flacco (vs. JAC) for $7,500, Matthew Stafford (vs. GB) for $6,900
Pass: Alex Smith (vs. DEN)
Smith gets the benefit of coming off the bye week as Andy Reid’s quarterback has historically had success following the bye. Unfortunately for Chiefs fans, they face the 7-1 Broncos in Denver on Sunday. Smith has done a good job of managing the Chiefs offense this season, but he hasn’t put up gaudy fantasy numbers with just one 300-yard game (a game in which he didn’t throw any touchdowns) and just one game with more than two touchdowns. He is facing the Broncos pass defense that ranks first in the NFL allowing just 181 yards per game. Smith might be a good manager, but pass on him as your fantasy quarterback.
Other Passes: Carson Palmer (vs. SEA) for $8,000, Jay Cutler (vs. STL) for $7,000
Play: DeAngelo Williams (vs. CLE)
Williams entered Sunday’s game against the Raiders with high expectations as he is the Steelers top running back due to the injury to Le’Veon Bell. Williams stepped up with 170 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 27 rushes to go along with two receptions for 55 yards. He will be facing the league’s worst rush defense as the Browns are allowing 147.6 yards per game and 4.7 yards per carry. Williams is the right play.
Play: DeMarco Murray (vs. MIA)
Murray has had a historically slow start for a reigning rushing champion but has started to get back on track in the Eagles’ offense. He has rushed for at least 83 yards and a touchdown in three of the Eagles’ last four games. Murray added another solid fantasy performance on Sunday with 18 carries for 83 yards and a touchdown with an extra six catches for 78 yards. He takes on a Dolphins run defense that has been torched in recent weeks and ranks 31st in the NFL allowing 142.1 yards per game. Play Murray.
Other Good Plays: Eddie Lacy (vs. DET) for $6,000, Todd Gurley (vs. CHI) for $9,200, Mark Ingram (vs. WAS) for $7,500
Pass: Rashad Jennings (vs. NE)
Jennings has not been much of a factor in the Giants’ offense which is due in large part to losing touches to Shane Vereen. Jennings rushed 13 times for 48 yards and caught one pass for negative one yard in Sunday’s victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has not rushed for a touchdown since Week 1 against the Cowboys and has not had a receiving touchdown since Week 4 against the Bills. It won’t get easier for Jennings this week with the Giants facing the Patriots rush defense that ranks third in the league, allowing an average 89.3 yards per game. Pass on Jennings.
Other Passes: Marshawn Lynch (vs. ARI) for $8,000, Justin Forsett (vs. JAC) for $7,100
Play: Julian Edelman (vs. NYG)
It is difficult to find a more consistent receiver than Edelman as he has found a rapport with Brady that makes them a lethal combination. He caught five passes for 55 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against Washington. Edelman now has seven touchdowns over his last seven games with at least 50 receiving yards in every game this season. He will be facing a Giants secondary that has been burnt this season as they ranked 31st against the pass.
Play: Stefon Diggs (vs. OAK)
Diggs has been a pleasant surprise for the Vikings this season as the fifth-round pick out of Maryland has made big plays for Minnesota. Through five games this season, he has caught 28 of his 45 targets for 461 yards and two touchdowns. He was held in check against a staunch Rams defense catching three passes for 42 yards but had posted 87 or more receiving yards in each of his four prior games. Diggs will be looking for big fantasy points on Sunday against a Raiders defense that ranks dead-last in the NFL against the pass. Play Diggs.
Play: Allen Robinson (vs. BAL)
Robinson has emerged as one of the top targets in the NFL as the 6-foot-3, 215-pound receiver ranks eighth in the NFL with 707 receiving yards on the year. He caught six passes for 121 yards on Sunday against the tough New York Jets secondary and has not registered a game with fewer than 68 receiving yards on the year. The Jaguars take on the Ravens this week and Baltimore’s pass defense has struggled this season allowing over 300 yards per game which should mean big numbers for Robinson.
Other Good Plays: Calvin Johnson (vs. GB) for $8,000, Demaryius Thomas (vs. KC) for $7,900, Randall Cobb (vs. DET) for $7,700
Pass: Larry Fitzgerald (vs. SEA)READ MORE: Essex Spreads Holiday Cheer With Christmas Tree Lighting
Fitzgerald has enjoyed a resurgence this season ranking ninth in the NFL in receiving with 706 receiving yards to go along with seven touchdowns. He is coming off of a big game against the Cleveland Browns two weeks ago, catching nine passes for 84 yards and a touchdown in the Cardinals 34-20 victory. Things will be much tougher on Sunday facing a Seahawks secondary that ranks second in the NFL in yards allowed per game and features some of the best defensive backs in the league in Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas III and Kam Chancellor. Pass on Fitzgerald this week.
Other Passes: Jeremy Maclin (vs. DEN) for $6,900, Amari Cooper (vs. MIN) for $7,300
Play: Rob Gronkowski (vs. NYG)
Gronkowski had his least productive game of the season on Sunday against Washington catching four of his five targets for 47 yards and no touchdowns, snapping a string of three straight games with a touchdown. Gronkowski has been a machine in the Patriots offense leading the team in receiving yards (693) and tied for the team lead in touchdowns (seven). He is a matchup nightmare at 6-foot-6, 265 lbs. and the New York Giants pass defense has struggled to stop most receivers, let alone a player like Gronkowski. Play him.
Other Good Plays: Gary Barnidge (vs. PIT) for $6,100, Julius Thomas (vs. BAL) for $5,400
Pass: Travis Kelce (vs. DEN)
Kelce is a big play threat in the Chiefs’ offense and could go off at any time. In Week 1 he caught six passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns, but then went six straight weeks without a touchdown reception until November 1 against the Lions, where he caught six passes for 49 yards and a touchdown in a win over Detroit. He faces a Broncos defense this week that stymied Colts tight end Coby Fleener last week and has proven to be the best pass defense in the NFL. Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan will likely be lined up against Kelce, meaning fantasy owners should pass on Kelce in Week 10.
Other Passes: Martellus Bennett (vs. STL) for $5,400, Jared Cook (vs. CHI) for $4,900
Play: Stephen Gostkowski (vs. NYG) for $5,100
Play: Brandon McManus (vs. KC) for $4,800
Play: Connor Barth (vs. DAL) for $4,800
Pass: Mason Crosby (vs. DET) for $5,000
Pass: Kai Forbath (vs. WAS) for $4,700
Pass: Chandler Catanzaro (vs. SEA) for $4,700
Play: Rams (vs. CHI) for $5,400
Play: Broncos (vs. KC) for $5,200
Play: Bengals (vs. HOU) for $5,000
Pass: Packers (vs. DET) for $4,900
Pass: Vikings (vs. OAK) for $4,500
Pass: Giants (vs. NYG) for $4,500
QB: Peyton Manning (vs. KC)
RB: DeMarco Murray (vs. MIA)
RB: DeAngelo Williams (vs. CLE)
WR: Randall Cobb (vs. DET)
WR: Allen Robinson (vs. BAL)
WR: Stefon Diggs (vs. OAK)
TE: Julius Thomas (vs. BAL)
K: Brandon McManus (vs. KC)
D/ST: Bengals (vs. HOU)MORE NEWS: State Health Department Opens Vaccine, Testing Clinics In Mondawmin Mall
Steve Dolan is an MBA student at Villanova University and a graduate of the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University. Steve co-founded Whiz Wit Sports, a Philadelphia-centric sports blog, in March 2011 growing the site to win PHL 17’s Best Local Blogger on the Philly Hot List in 2013.